Lonsdale bids its longest serving porter farewell

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Photo Credit: Lonsdale College

Les Woodburn, the longest serving porter for Lonsdale College, has recently retired.

Woodburn has worked at the university for over 30 years. As a porter, being the first port of call for students should they have any issues, he has made his impression on students over the years.

Rachel Essex, former President of Lonsdale JCR, told SCAN that Woodburn was the first person she met when coming to university and he made her feel very welcome.

“Lonsdale’s Porters Lodge won’t be the same without him” she continued, “as a famous ‘Lonsdale Figure’ he was always there for a chat and a laugh.”

Essex also expressed that Woodburn was very helpful throughout her terms on the JCR and would like “to thank Les for all the hard work he has put in during his time in Lonsdale.”

Fellow porter, John Clegg, described Woodburn as “an active member of the team.”

A yearbook, created by the Alumni Office in 1993, was dedicated to Woodburn for his “outstanding service in the course of duty”, along with his friendly and approachable nature. In the 1970’s he was also awarded the now defunct title of ‘Porter of the Year.’

Keith Davidson, Principal of Lonsdale College, said that “Les has been a loyal and faithful servant to Lonsdale College for well over 30 years and the place will not be the same without him.”

“Despite his imposing presence – six foot four, large and bald – he has always been a big softy” Davidson continued, “he was especially kind and caring towards unhappy students and it was common to find some homesick students telling Les their life story at four in the morning!”

Prior to arriving in Lancaster, Woodburn has spent time in a variety of different careers including the Police Force, Prison Service, and the Armed Forces (SAS). He also helped carry Winston Churchill’s coffin.

Davidson revealed to SCAN that Woodburn’s plans after leaving Lancaster “include a canal tour of England aboard his beloved barge.”

“Respected, liked and even loved by generations of Lonsdale students” Davidson concluded, “he will be sadly missed and the College diminished without him.”

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