Passed Away 2011
Wally Hewitt was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland in 1925. At 17 years of age he played for Glentoran Olympic which was a feeder team for Glentoran in the Irish League.
In October 1948 he emigrated to New Zealand and joined the Petone club in 1949. A tall, rangy player affectionately known as ‘the big lad’, Wally played at centre forward in the Settlers side that won the 1949 Chatham Cup. Indeed, Wally scored the only goal in the final, after scoring two in the semi-final replay against Eden.
He went on to play many seasons for the club during which he represented Hutt Valley, which used to have an annual fixture against Wellington. He was also captain of the Petone first team for some time during the mid-1950s. In later years, Wally played a lot of his football in the centre half position, and it was in that position that he played in the 1956 Hilton-Petone Cup winning side. The year before, in the drawn first final of the tournament, he had missed a penalty with minutes to go, and Petone lost the replay. Wally would be quick to explain that as he was about to take the kick, his mate ‘skinny lizzie’ Bill Pearson shouted out encouragement, referring to Tommy Docherty’s spot-kick ability. This of course at the crucial moment put Wally off the job in hand.
Wally made his last appearance in Petone’s first team as late as 1965, and in strange circumstances. He had taken the field for the second team on Memorial Park No. 2 when the call came from first team selector, Dick Steinbauer, that he was needed for the first team on the No. 1 pitch. Despite the referee’s threats of reporting him to the WFA, Wally went over to play for the first team, obviously prepared to risk suspension at 40 years of age!
Wally filled a variety of management roles for the Club over the years from 1956 to 1969, including auditor, committee member, chairman and treasurer. Wally also served on the Wellington Football Association for two years.
He was a first team selector during the 1960s. There was invariably a selection panel in those days, which of course would give rise to differences of opinion and the odd resignation. In addition, there was a trainer or coach to organise practices as a quite separate function from selecting the teams to take the field.
In 1965 Wally was awarded life membership for the service he had given the club on and off the field over the previous sixteen years.
In 1972 he was elected president, a position he held for three years. In filling this position Wally had occupied every administrative position in the senior club, in a full or acting capacity, except club captain.
Wally, our last connection with the 1949 Chatham Cup winning team, sadly passed away in August 2011 in Taupo.