ONE of the stalwarts of the telecommunications scene in the North West has retired.
Les Rushton, 65, of Grafton Avenue, Baxenden, started his working life as a telegram boy, delivering messages around Accrington on a "sit-and-beg" pushbike.
Now he leaves Pennine Telecom, having taken its sales and marketing onto the worldwide web and e-commerce.
At the beginning of his career, shortly after starting work for the Post Office, which was then part of the civil service, Mr Rushton sat exams to become a counter clerk, and worked in Manchester, Haslingden and then Accrington.
In 1964 he passed more exams and became a sales rep in Blackburn for Post Office Communications.
Following that, Mr Rushton became sales superintendent, then senior sales superintendent in Liverpool.
His next move took his career towards the top of the ladder, being appointed regional marketing manager for the North West, based in Manchester.
During this period he was also a Conservative member of Hyndburn Council.
After privatisation of the Post Office, Mr Rushton became responsible for wider areas until he was covering Lancashire and Cumbria.
In 1992, when further centralisation was planned, he decided to take advantage of the early retirement option, and left to set up his own consultancy business.
For five years he advised a number of blue chip companies including Smith and Nephew.
He joined Pennine as marketing manager in 1998 and launched its first catalogue and regular newsletter.
Mr Rushton said: "I've had a tremendous career and thoroughly enjoyed it, and I've had a marvellous time with Pennine."
As a keen walker, he plans an active retirement, spending more time in the Lake District and Scotland.
He is also an opera singer and ballroom dancer and is a member of the St Mary's Male Voice Choir in Oswaldtwistle.
He also hopes to devote more time to Accrington Clef Club.
Mr Rushton has three sons Mark, 37, Paul, 30, and Nick, 29, who have all followed their dad into sales and management.