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Railway loving grandfather and former Bentalls security guard dies
A daughter has paid tribute to her father – a former editor of a railway publication and Bentalls security guard.
Surbiton man Cecil James Pitt, known as “Jim” died aged 96, from bowel cancer, earlier this month.
He was born in Alton, Hampshire to parents Henry and Matilda and moved to the capital to live in Whitton before moving to Surbiton in 1977.
He worked in printing and later in advertising where he was involved in famous campaigns such as the 1950s slogan “bridge that gap with Cadbury’s snack”.
He also worked as an editor on the Mid-Hants News for 27 years.
His daughter Sarah Porter said: “When he retired he went to work as a security guard at Bentalls and when they were short of a Father Christmas he quite often filled in.
“He was quite good. He took his role as Father Christmas very seriously. He was even Father Christmas at my children’s school.
“He was a true gent. He was very popular and people really liked him. He would do almost anything for anyone. He was quite outgoing.”
His wife who passed away last year aged 88, had her ashes scattered in Kew Gardens in memory of the first date the couple shared at the gardens.
They were married in a Whitton church in 1949 and had two children – Sarah Porter and Simon Pitt, who have three children altogether.
Jim spent a lot of time selling poppies and meeting with like-minded, railway-loving people at the YMCA Surbiton.
He also sold raffle tickets for Kingston Hospital to help raise money for the cancer unit during his 80s.
He enjoyed travelling to different stations across London with his freedom pass, visiting museums and was particularly fascinated by City Airport and the Docklands Light Railway.
Mrs Porter said: “He was always with a leaflet about the railway. If there was ever a chance for him to set up a stall or go to a school fete he would always go with his leaflets and books about the railway.
"He was very passionate and very active. Everything he did he was very enthusiastic about.
“Every year he set himself a few tasks – challenges, like climbing a house – just to see if he could do it.”
Mrs Potter added her father loved trips up to London, particularly Greenwich, where they enjoyed a good pie and mash together.
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