Tributes paid to popular Norwich railwayman James ‘Jimmy’ Woodward
- Credit: Archant
Ever since he took his first train ride as a young lad, James Woodward had a passion for the railways.
And now tributes have been paid to Mr Woodward, known as Jimmy, a well-known railwayman who died on August 11 shortly after his 59th birthday.
Family, friends and more than 70 former railway colleagues gathered at St Mary and St Margaret Church in Sprowston on Thursday to bid farewell to the long-time Norwich resident whose life was dedicated to keeping East Anglia on the tracks.
Philip Woodward, Jimmy's brother, said: 'When he was about five or six he was taken on a train ride on a line in Essex which is now closed from Wivenhoe to Brightlingsea. From then on he just fell in love with them. His whole life he was a railwayman through and through.'
Mr Woodward was born in Hertfordshire, one of three children, and lived his early years in Essex. His family moved to Norwich in 1970, and Mr Woodward joined the railways as a box boy - a trainee signalman - when he was 16.
You may also want to watch:
Philip said: 'When they automated the signal boxes he moved to the Norwich station and was there for about 15 years, and after that he moved onto the Crown Point maintenance depot, and he became the senior man there.
'They say some people were born to do certain jobs, and I think my brother was born to be a railwayman. He just had a natural affinity for it.'
- 1 Bar splashes out £500,000 on outdoor dining area
- 2 Top of the Pops dancer, Octopussy star and 'Lord' settles in Norfolk
- 3 Former car showroom could make way for 146 student flats
- 4 'This is nature' - Sadness as cathedral peregrine chick dies
- 5 'They thought I was crazy' - New owner's lockdown pub success
- 6 Reduce your dementia risk with 7 lifestyle changes
- 7 Former pubs, schools and leisure centres among arson-hit sites
- 8 Police action over 'slavery' flag flying in Norwich garden
- 9 May 17 easing: What UEA virus expert will and won't be doing
- 10 Couple launch new park café after market success
Mr Woodward retired on July 28, just days before he lost his battle with cancer.
He lived in New Costessey and then in the Catton area for 20 years. Outside work, Mr Woodward travelled widely in the UK and Europe, collected model trains and buses and gave generously to good causes including the homeless charity Shelter.
Diane Hewitt, his sister, said: 'He was such a genuine person, always a loving brother and a loving uncle to my children. He had lots of friends who thought the world of him, and he will be very deeply missed. He was someone who can't really be replaced.'
Philip said he and his family were 'overwhelmed' by the tributes paid at Mr Woodward's funeral by friends and colleagues.
He said: 'It was a wonderful sight, very emotional, they had thought about it very deeply.'