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Captain Vivian Hewitt (1888-1965) was a pioneering aviator who was born in Grimsby to a wealthy brewing family. After his father died prematurely his mother returned with her children to live in her home village of Bodfari in Denbighshire. In his youth Hewitt became interested in flight and built an unpowered glider that he flew in the grounds of their house. His interest in flying led him to become one of the first people in the UK to obtain a pilot’s licence. On the 26th of April 1912 he flew a small single wing aircraft from Rhyl to Dublin; one of the longest flights at the time and a major achievement in the history of aviation. He signed up for military service during the First World War, becoming a test pilot for the admiralty. After the war he gave up flying and moved to Anglesey, buying Bryn Aber at Cemlyn. It is there he was able to fulfil his passion for ornithology, creating one of the world’s largest private collections of rare bird’s skins and eggs. He also developed a substantial wildlife sanctuary, providing shelter and habitats for a variety of flora and fauna. He never married but lived with his companion-housekeeper Mrs Parry for many years. This portrait painting, by an unknown artist, is of Vivian Parry, Mrs Parry’s son, who served with the RAF as a gunner during the Second World War. He was killed in action in 1942 when his Wellington bomber was downed by enemy fire.

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