FOR services beyond the call of duty, Ballakilpheric residents donated a bowl of fruit and a voucher to Carl Hadfield, who retired last Friday after over 20 years of delivering in their area out of his 32 years with the post office.
‘He has been very helpful to a number of people,’ said Hilary Sewell. ‘When I could not get my car out because of the ice, he drove it up to the chapel for me.
‘Another neighbour had plants delivered when he was away – Carl took them to another lady who looked after them.
‘There were 200 signatures on the card. We are going to miss him.’
Carl said: ‘Sometimes you are the only person people see when they live in the middle of nowhere.
‘There are people who live on their own – I check to see if they are okay, if there’s any smell of gas. Or if mail is building up and you did not know they had gone away, I make enquiries. I ask a neighbour to phone them up to see. It’s nothing too spectacular.
‘I would keep an eye on people. On my round you have the opportunity to sign on behalf of people if they are not in. I’ve got three pages with 80 or 90 people. It saves them coming down from the hills to the sorting office.’
Even the dogs like Carl!
‘There are rottweilers and everything, they are brilliant,’ he revealed. ‘I give them dog snacks. I shove it [a snack] in a crisp packet and rattle it when I’m approaching. They know what’s coming, it worked a treat with me. One guy, a big rottweiler, used to sit waiting for me, howling.’
He said of his time in Ballakilpheric: ‘It has all been brilliant, all the time. They have become friends more than customers.’
He was not surprised they gave him a gift and said: ‘That’s the kind of people they are.’