On September 4th our community postman John Down, known universally and affectionately as “John the Postman”, celebrated his 60th birthday. John has been delivering our mail for twenty one years, during which time he has become a friend to young and old, rendering a service far beyond the call of duty. Everyone can recall kindly acts routinely performed as part of his daily round. For example, when my own father was almost 90 John, having delivered his mail first would, if he happened to see me, say something like “….your dad doesn’t look so good today…perhaps you could pop round….” All this has been done with a perfect regard to the need to avoid over-familiarity or in any way to interfere with his work.

Photo - Peter Mackness

To celebrate his Birthday and to mark his official retirement date the villagers of Sulgrave decided to hold a surprise party for him.  On Sunday 30th September,  the New Courtyard Hall of Sulgrave Manor was kindly made available by the Manager, Wendy Barnes for the party. A collection was made in the village, refreshments and wine donated and the party was ready for him. His wife, well briefed beforehand, persuaded him to visit the village on the pretext of a light lunch with family and you can only imagine his surprise and pleasure to find at least three quarters of the local residents present to greet him.

See here for Photo Gallery.

Graham Roberts, Chairman of the Parish Council, welcomed him to the party and presented him with the collection raised in the village in appreciation of his twenty one years service. Knowing him to be a steadfast Millwall Football Club supporter, he was also presented with a club shirt signed by the current players. The refreshments included a specially baked cake which was clearly modelled on “Postman Pat”, complete with a signpost to point the way to Sulgrave. 

Fortunately, his retirement has been put on Hold so we look forward to his cheerful daily visits for the foreseeable future.

Colin Wootton