Death of Former Hounslow Councillor Announced

Pieter Betlem served on Watermans Arts Centre committee

Pieter Betlem
Pieter Betlem

December 20, 2023


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The funeral is being held later this month of Pieter Betlem, who served on Hounslow Council for 22 years..

He died peacefully with his family on Monday 27 November which was also the day of his 75th wedding anniversary.

Born in 1926 to a Dutch father he went to school at what was then Chiswick Grammar School and was a member of the 1 st Chiswick Scouts from 1936, initially as a cub, remaining a member through much of the Second World War. He claimed to have been a bit of a hellraiser during this time and that he was notorious for having ridden a motorcycle over the Hogarth Flyover. When the group were on camping trip near Cobham their hut on Hartington Road was flattened by a German bomb. Soon after, along with some of his schoolmates, he was evacuated to High Wycombe until he was eighteen.

He joined the army in 1945 just before the end of the conflict and remained in the forces until 1948 serving with Royal Scots Greys in West Berlin, Egypt and Cyprus.

On his return to civilian life, he married Doreen and began his long career as a freelance photographic journalist. He worked as a processing engraver for Northcliffe’s Daily Mail, Express and Evening Standard group from 1956 and eventually retired in 1986. His work as a press photographer saw him attend many sporting events including horse racing. His photo of a close finish at the men’s 100 metre race at the 1948 London Olympics was used to determine the winner.

The couple had two sons and three daughters and family time was important to him as he enjoyed nothing better than being with his children and later his grandchildren.

His lifelong commitment of voluntary service to the community saw him become an Alderman for the Riverside ward in Chiswick for two terms from 1968 to 1974 and councillor from the same ward from 1974 to 1990. He was also chairman of the Chiswick Town Hall Users’ Group from 1980 to 1990 and served on the Watermans Arts Centre committee and the Heathrow Airport Consultative Committee.

A certificate presented to Pieter Betlem by the Chiswick Town Hall User's Group
A certificate presented to Pieter Betlem by the Chiswick Town Hall User's Group

In the late eighties he moved with his wife to live in Shamley Green south of Guildford and continued his commitment to public service, serving on the borough council of both Shamley Geen and Wonersh. The couple threw themselves into the life of the village community participating in the activities of the local church and community shop.

In 1999 he was selected by his fellow Councillors to be Waverley’s Millennial Mayor.

His main interests were in education, youth services and recreational provision as well as planning matters and the environment.

In their final years together, Pieter and Doreen moved to Lincolnshire to be under the care of one of their daughters.

One of his other daughters, Suzie, is Vice President of The Brentford Chamber of Commerce. She can be contacted by people seeking more information about her father on

Councillor Shantanu Rajawat, Leader of Hounslow Council, said, “I was deeply saddened to hear about the passing of former Councillor Pieter Betlem. My thoughts are with his wife Doreen, his family and friends.

“He was a great asset to the Council and our residents but also served our country. He served in the Royal Scots Greys during the Second World War as later served in what was then West Berlin garrison in Cyprus, showcasing his commitment to our country and people, local and national. His absence will be felt by many.”

The council will pay tribute to former councillor Betlem at its meeting in February 2024.

To mark the death of the councillor a black ribbon has been placed around the Hounslow Council flag in main reception at Hounslow House.

Mr Betlem’s funeral is being held at Christ Church Shamley Green (GU5 0UJ) on Thursday 21 December.

Donations in his memory can be made to the Rotary Club, the bank details of which are as follows:

The Rotary Club of Godalming Benevolent

Sort Code: 30-93-49. Account No: 01464681

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