Welcome to our latest regular feature My Favourite Things where Doncaster residents share their thoughts and feelings about the place where they live.
Here’s what former council press office worker Mel Hewitt has to say.
How long have you lived in Doncaster and whereabouts?
I was born in Sprotbrough. Dad was a teacher and mum was a housewife. I have a brother and sister and our family was supplemented from time to time with hamsters, gerbils and cats.
I went to the marvellous Richmond Hill Junior School in the 1960’s. A beacon of positivity, great teaching and what we now might call a well-rounded education.
When the first man landed on the moon we all went off to Jodrell Bank to see the giant telescope – a spontaneous and inspiring trip, never forgotten. I’m not sure that happens in schools anymore – I think the national curriculum was probably the death knell.
The WI is an organisation I am hugely proud to belong to
Where do you work?
The year after the miners’ strike I started work on the Doncaster Advertiser as a reporter and ended up as editor of the Doncaster and Thorne editions.
After a couple of years living in Essex I moved back up to Doncaster and worked in the council press office on Priory Place.
After the birth of my children – Geoffrey in 1992 and Lizzie in 1998 – I became in independent PR consultant and have had the joy of working with many Doncaster people and organisations, as well as companies and individuals across the UK.
What is it you like about living in Doncaster?
Doncaster’s greatest asset is the people who live here. They make the town and it’s why I still live here. Family, friends, community – nothing is more important.
What groups/organisations are you involved in?
The WI is an organisation I am hugely proud to belong to. I joined the Sprotbrough branch two years ago with my mum. Every month I have the privilege of spending time with her and more than 50 other amazing women, all making a difference.
Do you have a hidden gem in Doncaster?
As the lovely Costa teams at every branch across Doncaster know I love my coffee.
Whether I’m meeting a friend or writing there is nothing that helps me more than a flat white and a packet of vanilla wafers!
A new favourite place is the safari café at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park, which is conveniently situated in my village. Again the people are so welcoming and the atmosphere uplifting.
What would be your favourite day out?
The combination of a second hand bookshop, glass of Sancerre and a view of the sea is the recipe for a perfect day out for me.
What is your favourite pub/place to eat?
Pacitto’s café on the front at Scarborough has been there as long as I can remember.
Freshly made egg mayonnaise sandwiches and milky coffee, served by the smashing lady who works there are hard to beat. She must serve thousands of people every year, but always remembers our order and greets us with a hug.
Do you have any hobbies? What do you do in your spare time?
I still paint watercolours and have just finished a portrait of two sisters, who I originally painted in 1999 when they were children.
What sort of music do you like to listen to?
Classic FM is my favourite radio station – although my taste in music runs from Kate Bush and Peter Gabriel to Taylor Swift and Adele.
The current CD in the car is the Poldark TV series soundtrack – which is brilliant.
Books and films are hugely important to me. Again my taste is very broad – from Bond to Cinema Paradiso. I admire Sue Townsend - Adrian Mole feels like part of the family. I love interviewing authors and have learned something about my craft from every one I’ve met.
Favourite thing to eat
I haven’t eaten meat and most fish for years now – my favourite thing to eat is poached eggs on hot buttered muffins, with a huge dollop of hollandaise sauce on the side!
You’re stranded on a desert island and you can be joined by one other person - dead or alive - who would it be?
If I were stranded on a desert island I would have to have my husband David with me. Practical, inspiring and my best friend, after over 25 years together I couldn’t think of anyone better.
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