The ‘scruffy’ man who was laughed at by people secretly hid fortune

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A thrifty man – who was often laughed at by strangers – secretly hid a fortune that he had amassed over the years.

Gordon Hewitt used to sell the local Examiner newspaper in his hometown of Huddersfield and was often spotted wearing a duffel coat, badly-fitting trousers and canvas pumps.

But behind the ‘scruffy’ exterior Gordon was a wealthy man, after many years of saving his money, Yorkshire Live reports.

After his death at the age of 71, it was revealed that he had saved more than £250,000, much of it hidden away in savings and investment accounts.

Six lady friends benefited from his will. Incredibly, at least three of them barely knew him.

One woman who received a lump sum in his will was Ann, a mother-of-two from Huddersfield, who was working as a shop assistant in the Wilkinson’s store in town when she first met Mr Hewitt when he popped into the shop in 1988.

Although they only chatted now and again, Mr Hewitt remembered her kindness as he made his will.

Ann told a Yorkshire Post reporter in 2012: “He told me that he was brought up by women and didn’t like men.

“He never bought much, maybe a box of matches, but he seemed to like the kindness of women. He told me he would leave me something in his will but I told him to look after himself.

“I never knew where he lived; I felt sorry for him when he was out in the snow in very thin canvas pumps. He was very grateful for the friendship.

“Because of his unkempt appearance, people would shy away from him. People would laugh and make fun of him.

“I would like to publicly acknowledge that Gordon did have a genteel side and he only wanted to pass the time of day.

“I am not able to thank him but I want the people of Huddersfield to know that he was kind and generous.”

Another woman, who was in her 50s, had chatted to Mr Hewitt near his home on a few occasions.

“He hinted at a will but I thought he was talking rubbish,” she said. “I was gobsmacked (at the money). He did once tell me that he liked women and not men.”

Neighbours in Winton Street, Lockwood, Huddersfield, remembered Mr Hewitt’s approach to saving money.

He never put the heating on, ate for free at churches and relied on the same duffle coat for years.

David Cheeseman, speaking after Mr Hewitt’s death aged 71 in 2010, recalled: “I have known him for over 50 years and he was always eccentric and comical in his manner.

“I told him many times to look after himself and install central heating in his house but he just laughed.”

Friend and neighbour Jean Buckley said Mr Hewitt had lived in the same house all his life, going through two marriages and divorces. She recalled his thrifty ways as something of an obsession.

She said he helped out at a soup kitchen just for the free soup and would call into churches for the warmth.

His hobbies were watching crown green bowling and sitting in the pub, but friends said he would rarely have more than one orange juice all evening.

Mrs Buckley added: “He used to sit in his Reliant Robin reading a newspaper with the light on so he didn’t have to turn the light on in the house. He was just a character.

“We knew he had some money, but not this much. I hope the six women enjoy the money more than he did.”

Mr Hewitt’s funeral was held at the Salvation Army Hall in New Hey Road, Oakes, and he is now buried in Lockwood cemetery, Huddersfield.



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