Tributes paid to loved 'Lowestoft girl through and through' Chrissie
- Credit: Courtesy of Helen Bonsall
Touching tributes have been paid to a much-loved woman who died after battling coronavirus.
Family and friends of Christine Hewitt have described a "kind and generous lady" who was very popular having lived almost all her life in Lowestoft.
Her family said the 66-year-old passed away peacefully at the James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston on January 19, having been admitted to hospital before the New Year after she contracted Covid-19.
Mrs Hewitt (née Jensen) - known as Chrissie to her friends and family - was described as a "Lowestoft girl through and through", with a love of travel and a strong work ethic.
The youngest daughter of Gus and Dot Jensen, and sister to Anita, she was born in 1954 in her parents' pub, The Rising Sun - one of the most prominent buildings in the Beach Village in Lowestoft.
Her family said: "Christine was one of that last generation of children born in The Grit, and The Rising Sun was the last building to be demolished in 1968, before the redevelopment of Whapload Road."
A former Dell Road, Elm Tree Middle and Alderman Woodrow School pupil, Chrissie met her lifelong friend Margaret Read in 1967.
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Mrs Read said: "I came down from Scotland 54 years ago, walked into Alderman Woodrow School and was introduced to Christine by the headmaster, Mr Scott.
"We have remained firm friends ever since.
"I will miss you Christine and will always cherish the happy times we shared together."
After opening a greengrocers with her mother when she left school, Mrs Hewitt moved on to Garibaldi Fisheries in 1972, where she worked as a fishmonger with her uncle, Tony Jensen, in Bevan Street for more than 20 years.
Her family said: "With a strong work ethic her whole life, she loved working with people and interacting with customers which is why she excelled as part of a sales team in shops and businesses."
After marrying John Bonsall, in 1976, they built their own house in Oulton Broad, where they raised their children James and Helen.
For more than 20 years, Mrs Hewitt hosted more than 300 foreign language students who lived with the family while they were studying English with the Briar School of English and Academic Travel.
After her first marriage broke down, she raised James and Helen as a single mother as they moved to Dell Road.
James and Helen Bonsall said: "Mum loved Lowestoft, worked all her life and was fit, healthy and active.
"Mum was loved by all and one of her biggest passions was West End musicals."
After marrying her second husband, Ernie Lankester, in 1995, and moving to Stanley Road, that same year she began working at Stead and Simpson shoe shop and later in Chadds (later Palmers) Department Store.
The family said: "Christine became assistant manageress of Chadds shoe department and remained there until she retired in 2019.
"She loved being on the shop floor with her co-workers and customers, so much so that she returned to work at Palmers a few months after her first retirement as she had missed it so much."
In 2009 Christine married her third husband Paul Hewitt and they lived together at Crompton Road until she died.
During the past 20 years, as well as working in sales in Lowestoft, Mrs Hewitt also ran her own franchise as a traditional Avon lady, building up a loyal base of more than 150 customers - many of whom became close friends.
Tracy Vincent paid tribute to Mrs Hewitt, who was "always a happy, cheerful, smiling, jolly lady with an infectious laugh and a genuine, kind and caring nature".
She added: "You’ll always be ‘The Avon Lady of Victoria Road’ to me and my girls.
"We can’t believe your life was cut short so suddenly. We know you fought to the end."
The family said they have been "overwhelmed" by messages of support.
Mrs Hewitt leaves a beloved husband Paul, children James and Helen Bonsall, her dear sister Anita Aldous, five grandchildren and two step-grandchildren.
Due to the current restrictions, her funeral on February 10 will be via invitation only, but the service will be live streamed.