A POSTMAN has delivered his final letter after 37 years of serving the people of Petersfield and Liss.
Dave Ray’s career as a postman has been signed, sealed and delivered as he completed his last round last Friday.
His last post was a periodical which the 67-year-old pushed through a letterbox on Woodcroft Mews at 3.30pm.
The round along Station Road took at least two hours longer than usual as Dave was given handshakes, hugs, farewell cards and presents by dozens of grateful Petersfield residents.
Mr Ray is “no ordinary postman” as you couldn’t put a figure on how many letters he has delivered since 1986. He was an ever-present on Hill Brow Road in Liss for 28 years before doing the Station Road job for a further nine.
And although he was tempted to round up his Royal Mail career to 40 years, the smiling and affable postie believes he’s leaving “the best job he’s ever had” at the right time.
He said: “I had to call it a day now otherwise I would have gone on forever.
“Before this I was in the meat trade for three-and-a-half years then a neighbour back in 1986 got wind of a position in Liss and I jumped at it.
“It’s been a good job. There’s been wet days and bad days but there’s plenty of good ones and I’ve met so many people.
“One of the best things is when new people move in because I’m always fascinated about where they come from and their stories.”
Mr Ray – who many people will also remember as the sailor mascot at Portsmouth football club – is not only leaving his job, but his home of several decades as he’s moving from Liss to Horndean. He won’t miss the likelihood of being bitten though, with two of his five bites coming from the same dog.
He’s also seen first-hand the impact the internet has made on letter writing as his mail bag has switched to a trolley in recent years to cope with the growing number of parcels.
Dave was given a leaving card and tucked into cake before donning his ‘I’m retiring’ sash and pushing his balloon-covered trolley down Station Road for the last time.
He said: “Someone said to me that I’ve gone ‘above and beyond’ but I haven’t, it’s just my job.”