Catfield man who dedicated 65 years of time and talent to his church, dies

George Hawkes from Catfield has died. Picture: Hawkes Family

George Hawkes from Catfield has died. Picture: Hawkes Family - Credit: Hawkes Family

A man who dedicated 65 years of his time and talent to his local community has died, leading to an outpouring of tribute and thanks.

George Hawkes was born in Catfield in 1934, and played the organ at All Saints’ Church for over half a century.

Mr Hawkes was born in Wood Street to Bertie and Marion Hawkes, his father being a market gardener.

He attended the local village school in Catfield and in 1945 gained a scholarship to Paston Grammar School in North Walsham, which he attended six days a week.

He was proud to be an old boy of the school and played every year for the school reunion service.

On leaving school, Mr Hawkes worked as a clerk at Barclays Bank and then moved to the accountants Sexty and Co. After a number of moves he eventually returned to Sexty and Co, where he worked until his retirement.

Mr Hawkes was always involved in the church community, joining the choir and learning the organ in 1952.

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In 1988, Mr Hawkes was cofounder of the Hawkeswood Singers with members from Catfield and the surrounding area giving concerts and entertaining audiences until their last performance in 2016.

In 2007, sufficient money was raised for a complete rebuild of the organ and a concert was held to celebrate and show appreciation for Mr Hawkes’ 55 years of playing.

In 2012 the community gathered to witness Mr Hawkes be presented a gold medal from the Royal School of Church Music.

This was followed by a service and surprise presentation five years later made by the Archdeacon, The Venerable Steven Betts at the beginning of his sixty fifth year.

In this ceremony, Mr Hawkes gave a special mention to his wife Janice for her support.

Mr Hawkes was also a keen fan and ticket holder of Norwich City Football Club, and also volunteered his time auditing the accounts of local charities.

Mr Hawkes died on May 14, his funeral was held on June 4.

A spokesman from the church said: “George Hawkes was a very unassuming man with many talents which he freely shared with all, he was a real inspiration to all who were privileged to know him and truly an honourable gentleman.”