Much loved Lewis Golden who was at the heart of Petworth community life for more than 20 years, died at the age of 94 on Friday, October 27
His funeral took place in London last Tuesday, but the family are planning a memorial service in the town, which is likely to take place in the new year.
Lewis and his wife Jacqueline moved from London to Pallingham Manor Farm between Wisborough Green and Petworth in 1976, which they restored and in 1978 the project gained the first major West Sussex County Council conservation award.
They moved to Petworth in 1994 where they already had many friends as Lewis had served as chairman of the Petworth Festival for some years and they both became vice presidents. Sadly Jacqueline died in 2005.
Among his service to West Sussex Lewis was a Wisborogh Green parish councillor, trustee of The Chichester Cathedral Millennium Endowment Trust , chairman of the Petworth Cottage Nursing Home silver jubilee appeal to fund the home’s improvements, trustee of the Petworth Cottage Trust which established the museum, chairman of the Petworth Millennium Map committee, trustee of Friends of St Mary’s Church and president of the Petworth and District branch of the Royal British Legion.
His son Jonathan said: “Apart from his work locally, my father contributed to a number of notable libraries, churches and museums, and had an equal influence in other areas of his life, professionally, in business, and in the Jewish community. But perhaps the most formative experience for him was his time as a signals officer in Airborne forces, particularly the Battle of Arnhem about which he wrote in his book ‘Echoes from Arnhem’.”
Lewis qualified as a chartered accountant in London in 1947 and became the chief accountant of a small public company before starting ‘Lewis Golden & Co’ in 1950.
There he became close friends with Sidney Manches, a practising solicitor and together they formed the very successful Everest Double Glazing.
In 1968 Lewis was appointed a Justice of the Peace and served on the North Westminster bench.
Together with Jacqueline he founded Golden Charitable Trust in 1972 to support the charities they were interested in.
In 1978 Lewis was awarded an OBE for his services to the London Library.
Perhaps his most formative experiences were the war years when he enlisted with the Royal Signals. He joined the lst Airborne Division and qualifying as a parachutist, was with lst Parachute Brigade in the invasion of North Africa in November 1941 and the invasion of Sicily in July 1943.
In September 1943 he took part in the invasion of Italy, serving as the signals officer of the 1st Airlanding Light Regiment and was with the lst Airborne Division for the operation at Arnhem in 1944.
In 1984 he published ‘Echoes from Arnhem’ an account of lst Airborne Divisional Signals in North Africa, Sicily, Italy and more particularly at Arnhem. In 2007 he became president of the Petworth branch of the Royal British Legion, and in 2015 he was made life president. Lewis and Jacqueline had four children David, Deborah, Sara and Jonathan. They had ten grandchildren and four great grandchildren.
In 2008 Lewis met Tishie Burr, with whom he formed a strong and close relationship for the remainder of his life.
Paying tribute to Lewis, Lord Egremont described him as ‘an exceptionally kind and generous man who did an immense amount for Petworth’.
“I had huge respect for Lewis. There were so many good causes he helped and we were very lucky he and his family decided to come to live in the town. I know how much he will be missed by many people.”
Chairman of Petworth Society Peter Jerrome said: “While always true to his Jewish heritage Lewis was unusually aware of, sympathetic to and extremely generous towards a wider world, both religious and cultural. If at first meeting he appeared reserved, this impression would quickly be dissipated on further acquaintance. He was a kindly man with a very dry sense of humour. To say Lewis Golden will be sorely missed is simply to play with words.”
Michael Follis, chairman of Petworth Festival said: “Lewis was a wonderful supporter of the festival – both morally and financially. His endorsement of the ambitious plans to extend it from a long weekend to three weeks meant a great deal to me and did much to cement overall support. It was a privilege for me to be able to invite Lewis and his late wife Jacqueline to become joint vice-presidents. His generosity to so many charities over many years was, of course, legion. He was an extraordinarily special person who touched us all in so many ways.”
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