Ushers call time on ten-year career

AFTER watching justice in action for more than a decade two much-loved court ushers are today enjoying retirement after finally hanging up their gowns.

AFTER watching justice in action for more than a decade two much-loved court ushers are today enjoying retirement after finally hanging up their gowns.

Maureen Lusher and Pat Leggett were not just respected by lawyers, magistrates, judges, reporters and their fellow ushers at South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court, but also by many of the defendants.

So much so that they have been sent chocolates, flowers and even Valentine's Day cards by people who have appeared in the dock at the Elm Street court.

And 65-year-old Mrs Lusher attributed her success to the fact she treats everyone equally inside the courtrooms, even occasionally issuing a friendly ticking off to the magistrates.

She said: “I'm a bit bossy and I tell people off if they misbehave.

“I like the court to run smoothly so I've told magistrates off for chewing in court.

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“Everybody gets treated the same - I'm old-fashioned like that.”

But Mrs Lusher, a mum of two and grandmother of two, said it took her a while to get used to the court atmosphere after taking the job in October 1995.

When she joined she had no knowledge of law but applied for the post because her husband had retired from the role after five years and she thought she could fill his boots.

She said: “For my first fortnight I didn't think I'd stay. I'm not a prude but I didn't like all the swearing but after three weeks I started ignoring it.

“And I got to know all of the defendants - one of them said I was the loveliest person he'd ever met.”

And 60-year-old mum of two Mrs Leggett, who worked at the court for ten-and-a-half-years, also made friends with some of the defendants, something she said made her job one of the most unusual careers on offer.

She added: “It was a fabulous and wonderful job and I think it was quite a different job.

“No day was the same, you never knew what would happen. And by the end I got to know many of the defendants on a first-name basis which meant a great deal to me.”

But after all this time Mrs Lusher and Mrs Leggett have finally decided to stop working and both now hope to spend more time with their families.

Mrs Lusher added: “I have been fabulously happy and really enjoyed it. It was a hard decision to leave but the time was right.

“I'm proud of what I've done - being an usher is an important role.”

Would you like to say thanks to Maureen Lusher or Pat Leggett? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

The Boss's view

Danny Cain, legal manager at South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court, said Maureen Lusher and Pat Leggett would be greatly missed by everyone.

He said: “Maureen brought traditional Suffolk values - good humour, plain speaking and vitality. And she always got along with everybody.

“She's the same with absolutely everyone which is an important quality in an usher.

“But she also brought something different, though you couldn't describe what it was.”

And he also said he was sad to see Mrs Leggett go.

He added: “She was very hard working, professional, good humoured and full of anecdotes on just about everything.

“She was a fantastic part of the team.”

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