Kit Hesketh-Harvey: Norfolk performer dies suddenly, aged 65

Kit Hesketh-Harvey: Norfolk performer dies suddenly, aged 65

A beloved performer, composer and screenwriter has died at the age of 65.

Kit Hesketh-Harvey began his musical career as a choirboy at Canterbury Cathedral and went on to perform in the West End and on Broadway.

When not entertaining audiences, radio listeners or television viewers, he spent time at Stoke Ferry, near Downham Market, where he had a house near the village’s 15th-century church, which he owned and maintained.

Kit Hesketh-Harvey at the piano at his home in Stoke Ferry, near Downham Market (Image: Sonya Duncan)

Mr Hesketh-Harvey’s sister Sarah Sands, former editor of Radio 4’s Today program and the London Evening Standard, told the Daily Mail: “Kit was stunning – smart, original, funny, kind.

‘Last time I saw him he was busy planning pilgrimage routes around Norfolk. There was always the next adventure, the next joke. He gave and gave and gave.”

His brother-in-law Mark Palmer, travel editor of the Daily Mail, told the newspaper: “He was the most brilliant, witty, gentle and talented man I have ever known, loved by everyone – including King Charles, who he worked for perform.”

Eastern Daily Press: Kit Hesketh-Harvey, who passed away at the age of 65Kit Hesketh-Harvey, who has passed away at the age of 65 (Image: Ian Burt)

The death of Mr Hesketh-Harvey comes as the search continues for Ms Sands’ ex-husband, actor Julian Sands, who went missing two weeks ago while hiking in the San Gabriel Mountains of California.

Mr Hesketh-Harvey wrote the screenplay for director James Ivory’s 1987 film Maurice, starring Hugh Grant, and has been a screenwriter for shows including The Vicar Of Dibley.

He wrote and sang with pianist Richard Sisson for over 30 years as the musical-comedy duo Kit and The Widow.

The pair have performed in the West End and on Broadway, along with their own show on Radio 4.

Mr Hesketh-Harvey has also appeared on radio programs such as Radio 4’s Juist a Minute and Quote Unquote.

In 2008 he co-starred with fellow Norfolk actor, author and television presenter Stephen Fry in The Story of James Bond: A Tribute to Ian Fleming at the Palladium Theater in London.

Mr Hesketh-Harvey spoke of his love for Norfolk in an essay published on the village of Stoke Ferry’s website.

“My favorite part of Norfolk is here, Breckland,” he wrote. “It is a magical and unique landscape of pale moors, twisting pines, dark forests and rushing waters that should be fiercely defended against devastation.”

Speaking of his connections to the village on the River Wissey, where he lived for more than three decades, he added: “There are considerable Harvey family connections to Stoke Ferry and the many Harveys in the church are all, like me, associated with Dr William Harvey, who discovered the circulatory system.

“When the church was put up for sale in 1999, the central carpet was raised and the organ wing removed, exposing further Harvey graves.

“We now use the choir as a chapel and the former nave for art events – concerts, exhibitions and Christmas services. I have a writing room in the former sacristy.”

Mr. Hesketh-Harvey was born on April 30, 1957 in Malawi, Central Africa.

He was married to Catherine Rabett, a former Bond girl, hot gossip dancer and ex-girlfriend of Prince Andrew.

The couple had two children but had recently divorced.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *