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Author Topic: Harry Dewell  (Read 3996 times)

Offline Pype Hayes

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Harry Dewell
« on: July 05, 2015, 06:29:14 PM »
I'm a first time poster and long time H&V lurker and would like to say a few words about my dad who passed away on 29th June 2015 aged 90.

Harry was born on 19th June 1925 at 42 Waterworks Street Aston and attended St Josephs School Nechells and left school at the age of 14. He saw his first game around 1930 by sneaking into the ground under the turnstiles like many kids used to and its no exaggeration to say that apart from war time and illness he rarely missed a home game including last season. He joined the army at the age of 16 having lied about his age and served in French Algiers in 1942 where he was wounded and invalided out of the army and convalesced with the aid of the Salvation Army in Shropshire.  The Salvation Army was a charity he regularly contributed to as an act of gratitude for the remainder of his life.

Harry's favourite job was working at the Atkinson's brewery (the brewery closed in 1961) in the bottling plant and had some funny stories of breaking a bottle in a crate that then officially rendered the whole crate undrinkable and the spoils were shared with workmates. He was sacked from this job for sneaking out of work to watch Villa in a midweek afternoon game (pre-floodlights) however he immediately gained employment elsewhere very quickly as you could in those days. Another amusing anecdote was him cutting short his honeymoon at a caravan at Stourport on Severn in 1952 as Villa were at home on Easter Tuesday, not so amusing to mu unimpressed mom.

He enjoyed and endured the ups and downs of supporting our great club and he eventually secured a 1957 cup final ticket only 2 days prior to the final having exhausted the traditional ways to obtain a ticket. He was working for British Road Services at the time and such was his love for our club he was known to many of the drivers from many parts of the UK who delivered freight to the depot. One particular driver he knew from Barnsley had somehow got a cup final ticket and remembered that Harry was ticketless and sold him the ticket at face value.

The 57 win was an obvious highlight for him alongside with the 1981 title winning team and the several league cup wins. His biggest regret was not going to Rotterdam, he couldn't risk going due to the uncertainty of his job at the time. He loved flair players such as Brian Little and further back in time Danny Blanchflower. When pushed to name his all time favourite Villa player he would probably say Paul McGrath. His all time favourite non Villa player was George Best and he argued that George would have been even greater on better pitches and receiving better protection like modern day players.

He loved our club but not the modern game and the celebrity status of the many modern day prima donna of average ability. He remembered fondly the days of George Cummings travelling to Villa Park chatting to fans on a tram with his boots wrapped in brown paper. He recalled on many occasions that George was one of the few full backs that regularly kept Stanley Matthews quiet and as hard as George was he never resorted to kicking Mathews and kept him quiet by quality defending. Harry also loved his summer sport of cricket and was a member at Edgbaston for many years including this season.

His favourite Villa manager was Ron Saunders although he spoke warmly of others, and in no particular order: SGT, Joe Mercer, BFR, Eric Houghton (because of 1957) and on a tenuous point I was named after George Martin who my parents knew and christened me Martin.  He didn't suffer fools gladly from his seat in the Trinity Road in regard to Villa related matters and he could (to my pride) be a cantankerous sod and on several  occasions he told 'part timers, glory hunters, piss taking neutral's,' sitting nearby what he thought of them if they were unduly critical of the team. I remember travelling home after game many years ago through the city centre and he was asked by a bloke how we had fared that afternoon, Harry refused to tell him the score and told him that if he was a true supporter he should have been at VP or alternatively go and buy the Sports Argus.

His love for our club remained unabated throughout his life and he remained a season ticket holder until he passed away. I had already renewed on his behalf a few weeks ago and only a few days ago cancelled it. The club have been great to him in recent years as his mobility worsened. They agreed to a parking space on the Holte car park for my sister to park and to get him in and out of the ground reasonably comfortably. For the forthcoming season the club had secured a wheelchair space for him and a seat for me which I know he was appreciative of however it probably came a season too late.

Some of you may have known him as Harry or 'H' either at VP or away matches where until a couple of years ago he  travelled to 50% of games with help from his great friends from Coventry, Baz and Dennis. If any of you are partial to real ale (he was a CAMRA member for many years) you may have known him from beer festivals far and wide or the Wellington (the Welly) pub on Bennetts Hill. Until he had a health scare about 2 years ago you would have found him with a group of fans (myself included) around a large table of ale and food every home match day. Prior to the Welly's opening in late 2004 you would have found him pre-match in  in the Aston Social.

On a related matter, a big thank you to all of you with connections to the Welly that knew or drank with dad, you know who you are but I will name you anyway, the regulars over several years being: Chris, Youngman (The Moose of this parish), Judy, Sandy, Josh, Will(f) and Jon Follows. Several others joined us on a more casual basis and if you did thanks for your company. Next season will no doubt see us raising a glass for the old fellah.

I've renewed for next season, itís what I do and itís what he would expect. His legacy is that he leaves behind an immediate family of season ticket holders including me, my sister, 2 granddaughters and 2 great grandsons. From a personal point he introduced me to our great club, Warwickshire County Cricket Club and real ale, so I'll never complain.

Finally, it was probably in 1966 when we were involved in a relegation battle from the old 1st division, that he was worried that I may not become a supporter. We were living in a tower block on the Meadway in the Garretts Green/Stechford area of the city and prime 'bluenose territory'. Most of the kids supported them and to ensure i didn't fall into bad ways he made my mom knit me a Villa hat to wear around the area and he took me (against my mom's wishes) to my first game around February/March time of 1967 against Fulham.  The rest is history..

Offline tony scott

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Re: Harry Dewell
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2015, 07:20:21 PM »
Sorry your loss,but you very much for sharing your dad's memories of a life spent following the Villa

Offline frankmosswasmyuncle

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Re: Harry Dewell
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2015, 07:35:01 PM »
Condolences to you and the family PH.
He sounds a real character, a true Villain and a great dad.

RIP Harry.

Offline The Laughing Policeman

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Re: Harry Dewell
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2015, 07:51:04 PM »
RIP Harry.
He sounds like a proper dad.

Offline Witton Warrior

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Re: Harry Dewell
« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2015, 08:15:15 PM »
I can only hope that when I shuffle off this mortal coil someone will write something half as uplifting as that.
Respect to your Dad as a role-model to us all - especially the part about giving part-timers and "neutrals" short shrift ;-)
I know I miss my Dad at the Villa but hope your memories will soften the loss.


Offline dave shelley

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Re: Harry Dewell
« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2015, 08:34:06 PM »
Another block in the wall that continues to build this great club.  Condolences to you and your family.

Offline garyshawsknee

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Re: Harry Dewell
« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2015, 08:50:51 PM »
Thoughts with you mate. Lovely to share your old mans story.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2015, 09:02:51 PM by garyshawsknee »

Online shirley_villan

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Re: Harry Dewell
« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2015, 11:58:20 PM »
Really enjoyed reading your old mans story mate. Condolences from a fellow Villa and Bears fan.

Offline Pat McMahon

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Re: Harry Dewell
« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2015, 12:09:05 AM »
Really enjoyed reading your old mans story mate. Condolences from a fellow Villa and Bears fan.

Exactly what I was going to write. That would be a perfect eulogy at a memorial service.

Offline Legion

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Re: Harry Dewell
« Reply #9 on: July 06, 2015, 08:37:59 AM »
What a lovely account. Sorry for your loss.

Offline Dr Butler

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Re: Harry Dewell
« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2015, 08:50:35 AM »
sorry to hear of your loss Pype.....a great story of a loyal Villa man...

The Doc

Offline richard moore

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Re: Harry Dewell
« Reply #11 on: July 11, 2015, 05:31:36 PM »
What a wonderful read, in places it read just like my Dad who is luckily still alive. He used to love regaling us with stories about George Cummings et al

Offline Dave Summers

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Re: Harry Dewell
« Reply #12 on: August 24, 2015, 03:18:27 PM »
What a wonderful eulogy to your Dad. I was half way through reading it when I realised that I knew Harry and have done since the early 90's. I was introduced to Harry by a fella called Keith Howlett, also sadly departed, at Edgbaston and from then on always made a point of chatting to him, mainly in the Social but also at away games and at the Cricket.

I'm sincerely sorry for your loss, I also lost my Dad in the last week of May and hope everyone is okay and remembering him fondly.


Offline MillerBall

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Re: Harry Dewell
« Reply #13 on: March 08, 2016, 09:57:57 PM »
I got to know Harry about 10 years ago having met him in the Wellington Real Ale Establishment in the City Centre.
He certainly enjoyed his beer and his Sport and loved trips to Norwich. The first time we met he told me about going to the 1957  F.A. Cup Final. I asked him if he still had the Ticket stub and he was very proud of the fact that he still did (together with other related mementos).
He was a supporter that the club would have been very proud of.