Tributes to prolific letter writer ‘Chas’

Charles 'Chas' Cheesman wrote hundreds of letters to the Echo for more than 30 years

Charles 'Chas' Cheesman wrote hundreds of letters to the Echo for more than 30 years

First published in News by

TOUCHING tributes have been paid to an avid Echo reader who wrote hundreds of letters for more than 30 years.

Charles “Chas” Cheesman, of The Grove, Southend, died of bowel cancer on August 18 only two months after his diagnosis and following years of being a familiar name to many on the Echo’s letters pages.

Writing letters every day after his retirement from Ford’s Basildon factory, he kept a folder with cuttings of his letters which were printed, dating back to 1976.

Each letter was written from his typewriter until it broke last year and he was forced to join the digital age with computers and email.

“When his typewriter broke, that was a headache,” says grandson Harry Cheesman, 21.

“He had to go on the computer and it was a task to get him used to it.

It was bad enough before when he needed a new ribbon for the typewriter, but he picked it up fairly quickly because, although he was 82, he was an intelligent man.”

Harry’s girlfriend Katie Wilson, 23, said he treated her like a granddaughter and said she very much saw him as a grandfather.

“He really loved the Echo,” she said. “He never really said how he got into writing so many letters, but I think he just really enjoyed expressing his opinions, writing and responding.

“He was really proud every time one his letters was published in the Echo.

That and his family were probably the two proudest things in his life.”

In recent years, Chas had letters published on everything from Dale Farm and York Road market to public sector strikes and hospital “moaners”.

Commenting in 2007 on the appearance of mobile urinals on the High Street, he sought to address the issue of gender inequality in the lack of any comparable facility for women.

“Don’t worry, ladies,” he wrote. “There’s a rumour going round that steps are being taken to purchase a load of plastic buckets to be placed on street corners around the High Street area.

At this rate, we will soon be part of the ThirdWorld.”

But Chas was not only known for his letter writing, says daughter Joanne, of Fernbrook Avenue, Southend.

She said: “While involved in the Scout movement he tried unsuccessfully to get comedians Frankie Howerd and Ken Goodwin to appear at the Scout Fair and was instrumental in the establishment of an important charity.

“He started the Essex Drugs Line in the 1980s.

Heroin was all over the place at that time, but there was no support for the families and he felt they needed someone to talk to.

“He would have phone calls really late at night from people saying they had come home and their son had sold all their furniture and would then do everything he could to get replacements for them.

“With my dad, it was all about the challenge.”

Charles leaves wife of 58 years, Maureen, 78, children Joanne and Gary and grandsons Harry and Jake.

Comments (15)

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1:43pm Thu 28 Aug 14

thecoat says...

RIP
RIP thecoat
  • Score: 24

1:45pm Thu 28 Aug 14

Alfiee says...

You will be missed by the Echo readers. R.I.P
You will be missed by the Echo readers. R.I.P Alfiee
  • Score: 25

3:56pm Thu 28 Aug 14

Howard Cháse says...

The end of an era.

Cheers Chas!

RIP
The end of an era. Cheers Chas! RIP Howard Cháse
  • Score: 23

4:06pm Thu 28 Aug 14

Joanna-J says...

Sounds like a lovely man,
Thinking of all family and friends at this hard time.
Rest in peace xox
Sounds like a lovely man, Thinking of all family and friends at this hard time. Rest in peace xox Joanna-J
  • Score: 24

4:34pm Thu 28 Aug 14

Popsiepop says...

Rip, a lovely man, thoughts are with the family.
Rip, a lovely man, thoughts are with the family. Popsiepop
  • Score: 16

5:43pm Thu 28 Aug 14

dolly pp says...

what a man rest in peace fella
what a man rest in peace fella dolly pp
  • Score: 16

6:33pm Thu 28 Aug 14

RoJoNe says...

Very sad to read about this lovely man. Does anyone know if he have any relatives in Hadleigh and Benfleet please ? I'm sure he belonged to the Historical Society.......
Very sad to read about this lovely man. Does anyone know if he have any relatives in Hadleigh and Benfleet please ? I'm sure he belonged to the Historical Society....... RoJoNe
  • Score: 11

6:52pm Thu 28 Aug 14

Robin Reliant says...

Never knew him..BUT i knew the name Chas Cheeseman via the echo for many moons.

R.I.P.
Never knew him..BUT i knew the name Chas Cheeseman via the echo for many moons. R.I.P. Robin Reliant
  • Score: 13

8:52pm Thu 28 Aug 14

cheesman92 says...

As chas' grandson, I'd like to thank everyone for their lovely comments. All of the family appreciate your kind words during this hard time. We will be saying goodbye to grandad at Sutton cemetery on Monday the 8th of September at 3:20pm.
As chas' grandson, I'd like to thank everyone for their lovely comments. All of the family appreciate your kind words during this hard time. We will be saying goodbye to grandad at Sutton cemetery on Monday the 8th of September at 3:20pm. cheesman92
  • Score: 20

9:23pm Thu 28 Aug 14

southchurch bob says...

I have read Chase's letters in the letters' pages for many years and as an occasional letter writer I appreciate the satisfaction of getting your point across in print and the response , you will be sadly missed RIP Charles.
I have read Chase's letters in the letters' pages for many years and as an occasional letter writer I appreciate the satisfaction of getting your point across in print and the response , you will be sadly missed RIP Charles. southchurch bob
  • Score: 7

9:28pm Thu 28 Aug 14

lucy10 says...

cheesman92 wrote:
As chas' grandson, I'd like to thank everyone for their lovely comments. All of the family appreciate your kind words during this hard time. We will be saying goodbye to grandad at Sutton cemetery on Monday the 8th of September at 3:20pm.
one off the best in st lukes great man
[quote][p][bold]cheesman92[/bold] wrote: As chas' grandson, I'd like to thank everyone for their lovely comments. All of the family appreciate your kind words during this hard time. We will be saying goodbye to grandad at Sutton cemetery on Monday the 8th of September at 3:20pm.[/p][/quote]one off the best in st lukes great man lucy10
  • Score: 11

10:21pm Thu 28 Aug 14

andyman1971 says...

RIP, you will be sadly missed. God bless x
RIP, you will be sadly missed. God bless x andyman1971
  • Score: 6

10:48pm Thu 28 Aug 14

jantone says...

I work with Chas's grandson, Harry & i know the family very well.
I know that Harry was devastated by Chas's passing as was Katie & his mum JO.
Before I met Harry I used to read Chas's letters in the Echo, they were always very interesting!!
A very sad loss.
I work with Chas's grandson, Harry & i know the family very well. I know that Harry was devastated by Chas's passing as was Katie & his mum JO. Before I met Harry I used to read Chas's letters in the Echo, they were always very interesting!! A very sad loss. jantone
  • Score: 10

11:42pm Thu 28 Aug 14

leavingonajetplane says...

I was Charlie's neighbour for a decade, and my husband and I had a good chat to him the night before he went into hospital. Over that time we saw the grandkids grow up, and I will never forget when I was under great stress at work, and the kids football hit a window hard, and I told them off. Not to much later, Charlie popped his head over when he was alone and asked "You all right girl?" "You want to pop in for a cuppa?" My father loved Charlie, and when I had trouble with a gent once, Charlie was first to say, "if he comes back girl, I have a nice plank with his name on it!" We have kept to ourselves since his passing as he has left a massive hole in our daily lives. There was almost a day that never slipped by without Charlie giving his "fatherly and cheeky" advice. As someone who grew up in what Charlie called "A bloody colony!" lol and whose father was 10000 miles away, I felt like Charlie was always there when needed. Of course there were the cheeky stories about his time at work, the MP's chasing him over the back fences in Southchurch, and many other things. We miss his gate going at 6am every morning as he walked down the street for a paper. We are a reasonably close group of neighbours in our street. We may not see each other that often at times, but we are there for eachother when needed. Now that we are moving to the U.S. I am reflecting on my years in the UK, and I have to say that The Grove, Southend, with Charlie as the mascot was, to me, what England is all about. In his older years when I knew him, he was kind, gentle, cheeky, sharing, caring and an incredible fatherly character. Maureen is such a lovely and kind person, and we wish her, and the entire family our wishes and best regards. I will pop in to see Maureen on the weekend and if there is anything we can do, we are here for you. **** Kindest of regards, Maree and Keith.
I was Charlie's neighbour for a decade, and my husband and I had a good chat to him the night before he went into hospital. Over that time we saw the grandkids grow up, and I will never forget when I was under great stress at work, and the kids football hit a window hard, and I told them off. Not to much later, Charlie popped his head over when he was alone and asked "You all right girl?" "You want to pop in for a cuppa?" My father loved Charlie, and when I had trouble with a gent once, Charlie was first to say, "if he comes back girl, I have a nice plank with his name on it!" We have kept to ourselves since his passing as he has left a massive hole in our daily lives. There was almost a day that never slipped by without Charlie giving his "fatherly and cheeky" advice. As someone who grew up in what Charlie called "A bloody colony!" lol and whose father was 10000 miles away, I felt like Charlie was always there when needed. Of course there were the cheeky stories about his time at work, the MP's chasing him over the back fences in Southchurch, and many other things. We miss his gate going at 6am every morning as he walked down the street for a paper. We are a reasonably close group of neighbours in our street. We may not see each other that often at times, but we are there for eachother when needed. Now that we are moving to the U.S. I am reflecting on my years in the UK, and I have to say that The Grove, Southend, with Charlie as the mascot was, to me, what England is all about. In his older years when I knew him, he was kind, gentle, cheeky, sharing, caring and an incredible fatherly character. Maureen is such a lovely and kind person, and we wish her, and the entire family our wishes and best regards. I will pop in to see Maureen on the weekend and if there is anything we can do, we are here for you. **** Kindest of regards, Maree and Keith. leavingonajetplane
  • Score: 13

5:37pm Sat 30 Aug 14

ThorpeAgent says...

cheesman92 wrote:
As chas' grandson, I'd like to thank everyone for their lovely comments. All of the family appreciate your kind words during this hard time. We will be saying goodbye to grandad at Sutton cemetery on Monday the 8th of September at 3:20pm.
Your Grandpa was a wonderful man, his wonderful stories always made me smile. I am truly sorry for your loss, You are all in my thoughts at this very sad time.
[quote][p][bold]cheesman92[/bold] wrote: As chas' grandson, I'd like to thank everyone for their lovely comments. All of the family appreciate your kind words during this hard time. We will be saying goodbye to grandad at Sutton cemetery on Monday the 8th of September at 3:20pm.[/p][/quote]Your Grandpa was a wonderful man, his wonderful stories always made me smile. I am truly sorry for your loss, You are all in my thoughts at this very sad time. ThorpeAgent
  • Score: 3
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