Sudbury: After a life of ups and downs 75-year-old Norman Gibbins finally retires from window cleaning
AFTER more than 30 years cleaning windows Norman Gibbins has a few stories to tell.
But there will be no confessions from this faithfully Sudbury window cleaner.
This week, the popular 75-year-old hung up his bucket and chamois for the last time, much to the chagrin of those living on Cross Street.
Every Friday since 1980, almost without fail, Norman could be seen on top of a ladder on the busy thoroughfare buffing up the window panes.
His kind character and chirpy banter have made him a favourite with all the householders he served to the point where one satisfied customer put a plaque up in his honour.
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“Cross Street is a big part of my life and I’ll miss the people although I won’t miss the winters. Over the years I’ve put on more layers and I ended up looking like a Michelin Man,” said Norman, who is only stopping work because of failing eyesight.
“I started window cleaning because I was made redundant from a previous job. I then started painting the exteriors of houses. Over the years I built up a good clientele on Cross Street and they have all treated me with kindness.”
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And it would seem the feeling is mutual. Owner of the street’s famous Moot Hall, Roy Rawden, even had a brass plaque erected to mark one particular paint job Norman carried out a few years back.
And his discretion has also won him fans. When asked for some racy stories from more than three decades of looking through people’s windows, Norman will only go as far as to say: “Let’s just say I’ve had a few curtains drawn in my face.”
Cross Street resident Frances Butler added: “Norman is a local institution and has kept this street in good order over many years. He is well-liked and an example to as all for the way he conducts himself.”