In memory of William (Willy) Hagin

3 September 2018

On Tuesday 28 August 2018, William (Willy) Hagin unexpectedly passed away in his sleep. He had left our office in good form the previous Friday and had enjoyed the bank holiday Monday helping a local farmer with lambing, unfortunately not to return to us on Tuesday.

Willy was a client manager at UHY Hacker Young Fitch, Chartered Accountants. He worked in our practice for most of his career; from an 18 year old student accountant in the early 1970’s to a client manager at the age of 64. He worked for my father, William Fitch, the founder of the practice who retired in 1997, and worked for me for the last 27 years. He spent a few years when he was about 30, working as an accountant for two clients: James Brown, the undertakers, and Perry Donaldson, the fruit and vegetable suppliers. Having become accustomed to working in the early hours of each day at the fruit and veg business, when he returned to the practice he decided to work from 7am each morning, ensuring the office was ready for the team arriving later. He always had other people in mind!

Willy grew to be a very approachable, professional and able accountant, with the common touch: an ability to connect to rich and poor, young and old, professionals , business people and blue collar workers alike, providing humour and wisdom wherever he went.

He had so many sayings we even created a Hagin Phrase Book. Here are a few Haginisms:

“This is a Chartered Accountants’ office, you’re not meant to be happy.”

“You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.”

“Someone’s in a good mood today, we’ll soon sort that out.”

“They call her Semtex – she blows up at the slightest thing.”

“Excuse me its go away “SIR” get it right.”

“At least Dick Turpin wore a mask.”

“Hey at least I speak to you – most people don’t.”

“I started work early this morning. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it” [when it is 3:45pm and he had had enough!]

Willy also enjoyed working with young people and passing on his knowledge to the next generation. He was a leader for many years in the Boys Brigade. He often took our student accountants under his wing. Only last week he spent a few days working with a sixth form student on work experience in our office…”getting excited about a bank reconciliation which reconciled”. He brought humour even to the mundane!

These are a few of the many tributes we have received in the last few days from clients, which will give you a flavour of the man:

“Michael – this just breaks my heart…  I don’t know what to say.  Our staff accountant and I have been speaking the last few minutes with very warm memories of Willie and are both just floored by the news.”

“I personally have known Willy for more than thirty years and will miss his professionalism, and more importantly his warmth of character and sense of humour. He is a great loss to you all.”

“We are all deeply saddened by his passing. He was always so friendly and great craic and will be very much missed.”

“I must have known William  (I never knew him as Willie!) for at least 35 years. In the early days he ‘did’ the audit and  then when he left the Fitch Practice I engaged him as our in-house part-time accountant. In my experience he was a great guy who helped me in many different ways. I find it hard to believe that he has departed from this world. Although I  have had very little contact with him over recent years I feel I shall miss him – he was one of those special people.”

Willy also enjoyed Bonsai trees and had a collection of them at home. As well as helping staff and clients with tax and accounting issues he was only too happy to advise on growing Bonsai trees which can now be found in the office and many other homes.

Willy was a special character and will be greatly missed by all his friends, colleagues and former colleagues at UHY Hacker Young Fitch.