POSTAL workers will be delivering more than 85,000 letters and 11,500 parcels to homes in Redditch everyday in the run up to Christmas.
But how many of us appreciate how crucial they are in making sure the festive season runs smoothly?
Standard reporter Connie Osborne visited the town’s delivery office to see what it is like for our postmen and women at the busiest time of year.
It is 9am and the Fishing Line Road site is bustling with deliveries while workers push trolleys full of parcels, cards and letters.
In fact, some have been in as early as 4.30am to tackle the mountain of seasonal items flooding into the Post Office in the run up to Christmas.
Today (Friday, December 12) alone has seen close to double the amount of deliveries expected throughout the rest of the year.
When a letter is posted through any one of Redditch’s post boxes it begins its first step on the journey to its final destination. It gets collected and taken into Birmingham to be sorted and then is sent back out to Redditch where it is broken down by its postcode.
A team of 120 staff then cover more than 80 routes using 54 vehicles to make sure that letter gets to the right place on time.
Today I was covering walk 131 with Redditch’s own answer to Postman Pat, Rob Parsons – and yes, he even has a cat called Jess.
Rob has been delivering post for 17 years covering up to ten miles a day – equivalent to walking three times the length of the UK every year.
He spends about three hours sorting the mail into 16kg bags and labels them up with the corresponding roads along with his partner who shares the route.
He tells me he started the job with the expectation of only staying for a few weeks, but ended up falling in love with the people and the company.
“It’s like a big family here, there’s a lot of nice people who make the job what it is. We all help each other out and we make sure you can talk to the younger guys here who don’t necessarily know everything yet.
“We have the experience of knowing the local area. Some things don’t have a house number on and because you know the routes you know that is Mrs so and so. That knowledge just comes with time.
He added: “It’s the best job in the world in the summer and the worst in the winter.”
And the biggest risk he faces everyday – dogs, and lots of them.
“I’ve actually been bitten by the same breed of dog twice, in the same place on my elbow. It was a Border Collie. But I wouldn’t want it put down, it’s his territory.”
After a slow-downed version of his route, I part ways with Rob and I can’t help but admire his commitment, his friendliness and his passion for the job.
His words ring in my ears as I head back to the office, ‘It’s a simple job, we don’t save lives, we just deliver letters.’
But I don’t think enough of us take the time to appreciate the lengths postal workers like Rob go to so we can hear from that special someone at Christmas. And he’s even got the scars to prove it.
* Last post for Second Class mail was yesterday (Thursday, December 18). The final date for First Class before Christmas is Saturday, December 20 and Tuesday, December 23 for Special Delivery.
Frank Lloyd has been delivering mail around Redditch for 40 years.
Reporter Connie Osborne and postman Rob Parsons get ready to deliver the mail (s).
Postwoman Connie Osborne hits the streets (s).