From rock stars to top managers: Ipswich Borough Council carpenter marks 50 years service

L-R: Ian Blofield, Pat Shemming, Russell Williams, Sarah Barber and Pete Shemming. Picture: JADE GID

L-R: Ian Blofield, Pat Shemming, Russell Williams, Sarah Barber and Pete Shemming. Picture: JADE GIDDENS - Credit: Archant

Half a century – that’s the amount of time that one carpenter has worked for Ipswich Borough Council.

Council chief Russell Williams awards Mr Shemming with his 50 year service award. Picture: JADE GIDD

Council chief Russell Williams awards Mr Shemming with his 50 year service award. Picture: JADE GIDDENS - Credit: Archant

Pete Shemming joined the council as a 15-year-old apprentice back in 1968. His initial apprenticeship was only meant to last five years but he has ended up staying a lot longer.

This week Mr Shemming was honoured by the council for his long service in a ceremony at the town hall.

Ipswich mayor Sarah Barber joined Mr Shemming and his wife at the event alongside IBC chief executive Russell Williams and head of housing Ian Blofield for the event.

Ms Barber said: “I think 50 years service with the council is amazing. I just think it’s wonderful that you have chosen to dedicate yourself, your working life, to the Borough.

Peter Shemming, pictured in 2006, with the original cupola for the cabmens shelter which once stood

Peter Shemming, pictured in 2006, with the original cupola for the cabmens shelter which once stood on the Cornhill and was destroyed by fire. Picture: JERRY TURNER

“There must be many people who don’t know how much they have benefited from your work.”

Mr Shemming said: “I always wanted to achieve 50 years. That was the target but I still enjoy going to work every day.”

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His wife Pat was also at the award giving, she said: “He rarely moans about work. He’s got IBC written across his forehead.”

It’s a dedication that runs in the family: Pete’s brother Terry also worked for IBC before retiring after 41 years in 2006. Together they have given almost a century of service.

Led Zepplin concert in Bath Hall, Ipswich, 1971. MUST credit Nigel Rea
AND do not syndicate

Led Zepplin concert in Bath Hall, Ipswich, 1971. MUST credit Nigel Rea AND do not syndicate - Credit: Archant

In his time Mr Shemming has worked on a number of important projects for the council.

Amongst some of his more memorable jobs have been installing a floor at St Matthew’s Street Baths so that legendary rock band Led Zepplin could perform back in 1971.

Mr Shemming remembers that the floor would bounce when people got onto it.

It wasn’t just rock stars that Mr Shemming came to help through his job but football managers as well.

Led Zepplin concert in Bath Hall, Ipswich, 1971. MUST credit Nigel Rea
AND do not syndicate

Led Zepplin concert in Bath Hall, Ipswich, 1971. MUST credit Nigel Rea AND do not syndicate - Credit: Archant

It was his job to make the late Sir Bobby Robson was kept safe by fitting barriers on the town hall to ensure they could celebrate their cup victories.

Mr Shemming wasn’t allowed to nail anything to the hall due to the Grade 2 listing of the building meaning that every measurement had to be precise.

“We had to wedge it!” said Mr Shemming.

Now 65 Mr Shemming only works two days a week for the council and doesn’t see himself stopping anytime soon.

Led Zepplin concert in Bath Hall, Ipswich, 1971. MUST credit Nigel Rea
AND do not syndicate

Led Zepplin concert in Bath Hall, Ipswich, 1971. MUST credit Nigel Rea AND do not syndicate - Credit: Archant