For 38 years, the popular Highbury College plastering lecturer has been travelling by Wightlink with his bike before pedalling to work at Highbury’s Northarbour campus.
Today he retired – and Wightlink, Highbury and fellow passengers were determined not to let the occasion go unnoticed.
As he boarded the catamaran, ringing his bell as usual, he was greeted by cheers, tinsel and party-poppers.
Wightlink laid on croissants and orange juice for all 140 passengers, special announcements were made over the PA system, posters put up, and he was invited to the bridge where he donned a captain’s hat before being presented with a free family car ferry ticket by Captain Graeme Bissett.
“Many of our crew know George well, he’s always cheerful even in the worst of the weather,” said Captain Bissett.
Fellow commuters presented him with a plaque and Highbury with a celebratory cake but there was yet another surprise in store - when he got to Portsmouth, he discovered that colleagues had laid on a chauffeur-driven limo to whisk him (and his bike!) to work.
“It’s like a club on here, these people are close to me because I see them every day. It’s been a privilege and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it,” said George.
Passenger Rose Coram said: “It’s not going to be the same without him, he’s such a character.”
Friends, students and colleagues past and present were later gathering at Northarbour for a special leaving lunch in his honour.