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Scout leader and former Newmarket newsagent David dies at 76

The funeral service for a former Newmarket newsagent will be held at the church which he could see from his shop window for most of his working life.

David Sweet, who has died at the age of 76, ran Sweets Newsagents on the corner of All Saints’ Road and Palace Street with his wife Jane from 1968 until their retirement last year when they sold the shop.

Mr Sweet had been ill with Parkinson’s Disease for four years and his condition deteriorated when he developed a chest infection during the coronavirus lockdown.

David and Jane Sweet, pictured when they renewed their marriage vows in 2014.
David and Jane Sweet, pictured when they renewed their marriage vows in 2014.

Mrs Sweet had continued to look after him at their home in Soham until July 30 when he was taken into Addenbrookes Hospital.

“There had been talk about discharging him home with a Continuing Health Care plan,” said Mrs Sweet. “But on Tuesday (August 11) I had a phone call telling me I should get to the hospital sooner rather than later, and I was with him when he died at 7pm.”

According to Mr Sweet’s wishes, a private service will be held at All Saints’ Church on August 27 at 11am followed by burial at the Brinkley Woodland Cemetery at 11.45am.

Mr Sweet, who leaves his daughter and son Helen and Mark and grandchildren Amy and Isabella Gossage and Evelyn and Rowan Sweet, was born near Atherstone, in Warwickshire, but when his mother became ill he was brought up by an aunt in Burwell.

Among early jobs, he was a steel erector and a bouncer at dances at the Memorial Hall and the Drill Hall in Newmarket, which is where he first met his wife.

Mrs Sweet’s parents, Bob and Lily Stittle, had run the newsagents but were hoping to retire and so when Jane and David were married they took it over and made their home in the flat above the shop.

His great interest from when he was a boy was in the Cubs and Scout movement.

“He joined the Cubs in Burwell and never really left,” said Mrs Sweet. Over the years he worked with the movement in Burwell, Soham and Newmarket.

His particular interest was in activities on the water and he taught canoeing and sailing, eventually being appointed Water Activities Adviser for East Cambridgshire Scouts, and also ran the Duke of Edinburgh Awards Scheme.

He also enjoyed model aircraft-making, woodturning, walking, astronomy, steam railways and cruises and had an abiding love for Wicken Fen and the north Norfolk coast where the couple owned a beach hut at Old Hunstanton.

“He was interested in everything and was good at anything he turned his hand to,” said Mrs Sweet.

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