‘Steyning legend’ will be missed by many
A local Steyning legend will be remembered for his ‘friendly, colourful and generous character’.
Ron Hitchings, also known as Charles and Michael Grey, passed away on October 2 after a brief illness.
Relatives said he would be ‘sadly missed by all family and friends all over the world’.
Originally from Brighton and medically trained with the Royal Navy, Ron returned to Brighton and ran his own grocery store for several years, always giving his favourite customers a few extra freebies.
He moved to Steyning in the late 1960s, settling into an old cottage on the corner of Church Street with very little electricity and an outside loo at the bottom of the garden.
Over the next few years, he slowly updated the cottage and became the custodian of the whole terrace.
Throughout this, he continued to commute daily back to Brighton to manage a local electrical installation and wholesale company, before eventually deciding to live and work in Steyning.
This included working for SME Ltd and at The Three Tuns Inn, before purchasing Michael Grey’s menswear and school uniform shop, which he ran on the High Street until he retired.
Ron soon became bored with retirement and started working as a chef at various pubs and care homes locally.
He became a Parish Councillor for a few years, and also worked on the construction of Shoreham flyover.
His family said: “Many residents will remember him for keeping a pet goat and taking it for walks up the High Street and around the village, not to mention his constant whistling of his favourite tunes, only stopping to engage in conversation with everybody he met, friends or strangers.”
Ron enjoyed amateur dramatics, including with The Castle Players, among others that put on annual shows locally.
He loved his garden and participated in Steyning in bloom every year and won numerous times for his displays of window boxes.
Ron was also passionate about travelling the world and would happily chat about the places he had been to and the people he met. During his Naval career, he was very proud to have met Queen Elizabeth II.