Tributes paid to popular Norwich railwayman James ‘Jimmy’ Woodward

James 'Jimmy' Woodward, with his favourite locomotive. Picture: Courtesy Mr Woodwards's family

James 'Jimmy' Woodward, with his favourite locomotive. Picture: Courtesy Mr Woodwards's family - Credit: Archant

Ever since he took his first train ride as a young lad, James Woodward had a passion for the railways.

James 'Jimmy' Woodward when he was 20 years old. Picture: Courtesy Mr Woodwards's family

James 'Jimmy' Woodward when he was 20 years old. Picture: Courtesy Mr Woodwards's family - Credit: Archant

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.


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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.'

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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.'

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