Thursday, February 7, 2013
Ottery’s long-serving postman will be swapping letters and parcels for lettuce and parsnips as he retires to spend more time in his garden.
Les Peek, 60, has been working for Royal Mail for almost 25 years after leaving the family building firm, and has made friends, foiled criminals and become part of the local community.
But he said with his first grandchild on the way, tendonitis in his ankles and lots of ideas for his garden in Feniton it was time to hang up his post bike.
And it is no ordinary back-garden; standing at almost three-quarters of an acre Les has installed a summer house, kitchen and toilet so he can spend as much time as possible with his 50 chickens and the thousands of vegetables and plants he grows.
It used to be part of his father’s property at Iron Gate Lodge, but despite the house being sold when he died three years ago Les kept the garden for himself, and now he is retiring will have plenty of time to tend to it, as he has no plans to slow down.
He said he has already been known to be out turning soil with a head-torch on before the sun comes up, and once walked from his home in Feniton to Ottery sorting office during heavy snow, setting off at 3am so he wouldn’t miss the 5am mail lorry, but it never arrived.
“Thankfully a van picked me up on the way home,” he chuckled.
“I have always been a workaholic.”
He said he enjoyed his time as Ottery’s postman and has made lasting friendships, and was overwhelmed by the cards and gifts he has received since announcing his retirement.
During his time delivering letters he has doubled up as a handyman, helping change people’s lightbulbs, picked up elderly residents’ pensions for them, and even crimefighter, calling the police and helping foil an early-morning attempted safe robbery at Lovells Garage.
“You get to see quite a lot being a postman,” he added.