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1906-1986: Memories of Charlie Hawkes - the oldest paper boy

Police found Mid Sussex’s oldest paper boy’s stolen bicycle. Charlie Hawkes, 78, had been delivering papers in Cuckfield for 48 years. The bike was stolen from Tylers Green, Cuckfield, but later found intact in Burgess Hill. His friend Mr John Simcox, of NSS Newsagents, Cuckfield, said of Charlie’s opinion of the thieves: “It’s unprintable”. from Mid SussexTimes (?) 18 March 1983

Older residents may still remember Charlie Hawks (1906-1986) wheeling his bicycle up Cuckfield hill heading for Whiteman's Green - whatever the weather, and always with a cheerful smile and greeting. He used to live in a house by the road junction at Whiteman's Green (opposite the petrol station) and for a long time it was affectionately called 'Charlies'.

Residents posted their fond memories last June about Charlie on ‘Around Old Cuckfield’ Cuckfield Museum’s Facebook group and they make amusing reading.

Dee Knight recalled: ‘My Nan and Grandad’s dog, a corgi called Robin, would sit the other side of the door, knowing that a biscuit would fall out of the paper for him. Lovely fella.’

Phil Tidey commented: ‘Picking up the papers from his hut in Whitemans Green was a Sunday ritual in the sixties.’

Joan Hatfield added: 'My brother and I would rush out to the garden gate to get a biscuit from him! I remember his dad delivering the paper as well!’

Evelyn Stenning recalled: ‘The photo is taken next to his shed which is part of my garden. The oak tree on the Green was planted in memory of him.’

Andy Revell (website editor) posted: ‘Good old Charlie … he delivered the newspapers but as far as my grannie in Brook Street was concerned the “news” was what he “picked up” on his rounds!’

Lynne Davison (wife of the other website editor) adds: ‘He once said to my Mum, commenting on the weather, “Winter draws on” - she thought he was being cheeky and questioning what she was wearing! He was always good for a laugh.’

Jan Atkinson added: ‘What an amazing character in Cuckfield! Every dog on his round knew he carried biscuits in his pocket for them! You were lucky if you got your morning paper by four in the afternoon!!’

Tessa Boyer: ‘Everyone who lived in Cuckfield knew Charlie, he used to be in Glebe Road in the afternoon, and still had biscuits left for the dogs. He always had time for a chat, that’s is why his round took so long. I nursed him in Cuckfield Hospital after he was found on the ground in his garden. Very, very cold, had to warm him up very slowly.’

Many thanks to Cuckfield Museum. Do add ‘Around Old Cuckfield’ to your Facebook subscription group list.

Young Man's Accident

Charles Hawkes (27), son of Mr W Hawkes of Whiteman’s Green, is in the Haywards Heath Hospital suffering from a compound fracture of the left arm as a result of an accident at Brook Street on Thursday afternoon. He was riding in a motor-van belonging to Mr F Seldon and driven by a young man named Robert Goldsmith, when the van collided with a telegraph post. Goldsmith was not injured.

Mid Sussex Times Tuesday 15 August 1933

Note: Seldons was a village butcher at the bottom of the High Street.

Contributed by Malcolm Davison.


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