Hard work not against grain for Peter

PETER Shemming is certainly a man who has left his mark on Ipswich.During the past 40 years he has worked on some of the town's most important projects and hung countless doors and fixed countless fences and gates in the town's council houses.

Grant Sherlock

PETER Shemming is certainly a man who has left his mark on Ipswich.

During the past 40 years he has worked on some of the town's most important projects and hung countless doors and fixed countless fences and gates in the town's council houses.

The 55-year-old this week celebrated four decades in his job as a joiner and carpenter for Ipswich Borough Council.

And such is his popularity that he attracted an unprecedented 80-strong turn-out for his celebration - including Ipswich Town manager Jim Magilton and borough council chief executive Jim Hehir.

“It took me completely by surprise,” Mr Shemming, of Claverton Way, Rushmere St Andrew, said after the anniversary event.

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“It was an unbelievable turn-out, I've never seen anything like it. I was really taken aback.

“When I walked through the door I was just gob smacked, it was so emotional. I'll never forget it in my life.”

Mr Shemming's colleagues at the council's Gipping House on the Hadleigh Road Industrial Estate conspired to keep the party a secret.

They wanted to celebrate the fact he had stayed in the same job since taking up his apprenticeship with the council at 15-and-a-half after leaving Ipswich's Copleston School.

“It brought back lots of memories, they've all been good years,” Mr Shemming said.

“My father got me the job. I was going to be a painter because there wasn't actually a carpentry position at the time but my father wrote them a letter. I was very lucky and I still enjoy the work.”

Jim Magilton was invited to the knees-up because Mr Shemming is an avid Ipswich Town fan and was even there to watch Town's glorious victories in the FA and UEFA cups.

He was presented with his own Town shirt and his colleagues say he won't stop talking about it.

His boss Richard Laughlin, business development manager at Gipping House, said: “He is just a very, very nice bloke.

“He's got two hardships in life - he's worked for the council for 40 years and he's an Ipswich Town fan.

“He cannot stop talking about the fact he'd had this shirt presented by Jim Magilton. He is absolutely over the moon.”

Reflecting on the challenge of working until he is 65 and four months to reach his 50 years' of service, Mr Shemming, who lives with wife Patricia and has a daughter called Clare, said: “You've got to take it year by year. The years have flown and I enjoy my job, which makes it easier.”

Do you know someone who has reached a special milestone? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

PETER Shemming has done more than just hang thousands of doors in his 40 years with Ipswich Borough Council.

He has also worked on momentous projects like the repair of the roof of Christchurch Mansion and the complete rebuild of one of the town's best-loved relics - the Christchurch Park Cabman's Shelter.

Mr Shemming and colleague Robin Smy used their expert woodworking skills to recreate the detail and traditional methods used in the creation of the shelter, which once stood on the Cornhill.

“That was such a challenge,” he said.

The rebuilt shelter is one of Mr Shemming's most proud achievements and to make sure he has a lasting reminder of his handiwork the council presented him with a framed picture of the finished product during Tuesday's bash.

“It was a labour of love,” he said.

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