COMMUNITY champion Joe Blewitt, who represented the people of Littlemore on local councils for 35 years, has died aged 89.

The former councillor is survived by widow Beryl, 80, their five children — Leslie, 60, Pat, 56, Stephen, 55, Christine, 53, and Lorraine, 50 — 17 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.

Mrs Blewitt, of Minchery Road, Oxford, said her husband’s death had left a huge hole in the family.

Paying tribute to his memory, she said: “He loved doing things for other people and he was involved in many things in the city.

“His family meant everything to him and he loved spending time with the grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

“He was a loving husband and father.

“I’ve had quite a few cards from people who knew him — it’s the end of an era for many people.”

Born in Staffordshire, Mr Blewitt served in the Royal Navy during the Second World War and was aboard HMS Hermes when she was attacked and sunk by a Japanese warship.

After the war, he moved to Oxford, where he married in 1948 and worked on the production line at the Cowley plant for more than 30 years.

He first represented the people of Littlemore in 1963, whenhe was elected as a parish councillor.

He later served on the old Bullingdon Rural District Council, South Oxfordshire District Council and Oxford City Council, where he was Lord Mayor in 1995/96.

He stepped down from local politics in 1998 after suffering a stroke.

An active member of the Royal British Legion and Burma Star Association, he enjoyed collecting coins and stamps — and making his own wine.

Mrs Blewitt said: “He’d make it from grapes or white currants — it was very nice.”

Mr Blewitt was diagnosed with cancer of the throat and chest in October last year.

He spent his last days at Sobell House hospice.

His funeral takes place at John Bunyan Baptist Church in Cowley on Monday at 1pm.