Popular postman from East Harling retires to a fanfare

A postman who retired after 34 years in the job has been overwhelmed by well-wishers on his former round.

Residents from Great Hockham not only threw Mick Clears, 64, a surprise party, but presented him and his wife, Angela, with a number of special gifts and money for a holiday.

Mr Clears, from East Harling, who had delivered post to 329 houses in Great Hockham, Wretham, and previously Illington, for the past 19 years before he retired on Friday, was known for his kindness and thoughtfulness.

This was reciprocated with gifts from villagers including a love-seat, a watercolour painting specially commissioned from Hockham resident Margaret Linge featuring Mr Clears and his van delivering post on the village green, and a Hockham Hare sculpted by local potter Rosemary Delfinio.

“I knew all my customers by their first name and everybody spoke to me,” Mr Clears said. “I was totally overwhelmed by all the cards and gifts I received.

“Although I had my suspicions that something was going on I was totally gob-smacked when I walked into the party and I saw everybody from the village.”

Mr Clears, who began as a postman in Thetford in 1978 and was asked to take an aptitude test which included whether or not he was able to ride a bike, saw many changes in his time with Royal Mail, including mechanisation.

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Whereas postman were previously expected to sort mail into categories dependent on county, or even country, a machine took this on.

When Mr Clears began, as well as dealing with telegrams, postmen were expected to begin work at 4am, work 43 hours a week, covering three shifts per day.

“I miss the connections with the customers the most, rather than Royal Mail itself,” he said. “I’m an old sort of postman though and there were too many changes. We had more time to talk to people then but it’s all about money now.”

Mr Clears now intends to continue his hobby of running and, with his wife, competing in agility shows with his dog, Ben.