A GROUP of “jolly boys” will celebrate the close bond with their late friend on a trip to Las Vegas in his memory.
Tragic Terry Hewitson was a member of the Owton Manor Social Club’s “Jolly Boys” group in Hartlepool.
He had been planning a dream holiday to the party mecca to mark his 50th birthday.
But the 48-year-old dad of two died suddenly from an unknown heart condition in January last year, leaving his family and friends stunned.
Later this week, 16 members of the Jolly Boys will toast the memory of Terry – who was known simply as “legend” – when they live out his ambition in the bright lights of Vegas.
They have had T-shirts specially made for the emotional trip which they will all wear on what would have been Terry’s 50th birthday next Tuesday.
Darren Bates, 34, a member of the group, said: “We have been going away for years to places like Torremolinos in Spain as the Jolly Boys.
“Terry was sort of the leader. He kept us all in check.
“It was his dream to go to Vegas and it had been planned for three and half years before he died.
“We basically all got together to decide what we should do and who still wanted to go.
“Everybody said we should still go.”
The holiday will be the group’s first since Terry died.
Darren said there was a “massive gap” in the gang, which meets at the Wynyard Road club, but felt making the trip was the best way to honour his memory.
They have each saved up £1,030 from paying their weekly subs and will enjoy a seven night stay at the famous Bellagio hotel in the heart of Vegas’ bustling Strip.
But Darren admitted the trip will be one of mixed emotions for the group.
He added: “Terry is definitely going to be in all our minds.
“It is because of him that we are going.
“We all miss him.
“There is a massive gap and we haven’t been away since.
“It just wasn’t the same without him.”
Terry, a cable contractor, who lived in the Rossmere area, collapsed on January 25 last year.
His long-term partner Elaine Sharp described him as “one in a million.”