South Western Railway (SWR) has said goodbye to its longest-serving employee.
Don Buckley, now 82, has been working at London Waterloo for almost seven decades. Most recently, he worked three shifts per week, helping visually impaired and disabled passengers around Waterloo station, as well as providing unrivalled London knowledge to customers needing directions around the city.
In 1953, when he was 14 years old, Don travelled from County Kerry, Ireland, jumped in a taxi and asked the driver to take him to “the big station in London”, expecting to be taken to Euston, but subsequently arrived at Waterloo. Too young to be working on the trains, Don started his career as a station message boy, never dreaming he would still be working at “the big station” 68 years later.
During his years of service, Don witnessed the last steam train leave Waterloo in 1967, the closure of the station cinema in 1970, the great train robber Buster Edwards setting up a flower stall following his release from jail in 1975, and the filming of scenes from Skyfall and the Bourne Ultimatum.
Commenting on his years of service, Don said: “I have loved working at Waterloo for all these years. The station may have changed a lot since the 1950s, but it’s still such a special place and I feel so lucky to have had so many wonderful experiences working here.
“The people are what make the station special, and I will miss my colleagues and customers immensely. While all good things come to an end, Waterloo will always have a very special place in my heart.”
Chico Coulibaly, London Waterloo regional manager at South Western Railway, said: “Don is a well-respected and much-loved member of our team. His wealth of knowledge about the railway, Waterloo and London is unrivalled, and he will be dearly missed by colleagues and customers alike.
“We would like to take this opportunity to thank Don for all his years of service and the significant contribution he has made at Waterloo. We wish Don all the very best for his retirement.”