This morning I visited the main Royal Mail delivery centre in Barnsley, to see for myself the co-ordination and effort that goes into ensuring they can cope during the festive period.
The build-up to Christmas is their busiest time of year. Their fleet of delivery vans and thousands of staff – some drafted in especially for the festive period – will power across their network of delivery routes. Their hard work means that our letters, cards and parcels for loved ones should arrive in time and in one piece – despite what the British weather throws at them.
Whether you are one of the millions of people choosing to order gifts via the internet, or you have a stack of cards to send to friends and family, this is the time of year when you will undoubtedly rely on the postal service most.
The Royal Mail may no longer be owned by the British taxpayer but I know that many of their employees still see themselves as public servants first, before any notion of commercial profit.
The sight of the postie in your street is something many of us take for granted. But in rural areas, or for the more vulnerable people in our communities, their regular appearance is a comforting contact with the outside world. They provide an important service – we should thank them for that.
I know myself just how important a reliable postal service is, from my time in the army. When you are working overseas away from your family, sometimes in dangerous situations, and often with limited access to any electronic communication, the arrival of a letter from home can lift your spirits immeasurably.
Nothing says it like a letter. That phrase has always stuck with me. There is something about seeing your loved ones’ handwriting that cannot be achieved by typed words alone. It touches you. It connects with you. You can appreciate the thought and effort that has gone into creating that very personal letter.
It is no coincidence that one of the important things you learn in the army is how to write a good letter. From writing to say thank you to those who have helped you, to the devastating situation of having to write to a family who have lost a son, daughter, husband or wife – the power of the personally written word cannot be undervalued. It provides a lasting tribute which endures beyond the initial reading.
So amidst all the pressure and activities of this Christmas, don’t forget to put a few extra lines in some of the cards you send. It really is one of the best ways to connect with people.
And don’t forget: last posting date for Christmas is Saturday 19th December (2nd class) and Monday 21st December (first class). This article was first published in the Barnsley Chronicle on the 27th November 2015.
This article was first published in the Barnsley Chronicle on the 27th November 2015.