One of GWR’s longest-serving employees will retire at Christmas, having served nearly 55 years at Reading station.
Pat Kemp started as a porter on 24 January 1966, when the station was till known as Reading General, to distinguish it from the neighbouring ex-South Eastern Railway station
Looking back at his career, the 76-year-old from Caversham said: “You could definitely call me Mr Versatile. I’ve done quite a few jobs down the years, probably the only one I haven’t done is station manager!
“It has been lovely to work with some great colleagues and I’ve always enjoyed meeting the customers – I’ve got friendly with quite a few of them over time. I’ve also seen some famous faces pass through, people like the Princess Royal and the late comedian Frank Carson.”
Reading station has changed significantly during Pat’s career, with the opening of a new concourse, including the Brunel shopping arcade in 1989 and its £897 million transformation delivering five new platforms in 2014.
GWR flagship station manager at Reading, David Pinder, said: “Pat’s worked in three very different sorts of station and he’s a part of the fixtures and fittings. He’s got an excellent attendance record, has always been friendly towards customers and is well liked by colleagues. He’s going to be sorely missed.”
Pat started off as a member of the parcel post team, helping to sort mail for distribution across the country. He then worked in train dispatch and assisted as a chargeman, helping to shunt trains into sidings.
After 35 years in dispatch, he took on a role in the assisted travel team in 2000 before moving across to the ticket gateline in 2009.
“Looking back, I think working on the gateline has been one of the best jobs I’ve had. I’m going to miss it but I intend to come back and say hello. It will be nice to actually get to travel on the train and I fancy travelling down to Cheltenham and coming back via Worcester.”
As well as those train trips, Pat is also planning a holiday to Scotland with wife Elaine and intends to spend more time with his three daughters and five grandchildren.