Delivering Christmas in Lewis for the last 30 years

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Murdo Sineath, postman at Stornoway Delivery Office, will this year deliver Christmas to people in the Stornoway area for the 30th year.

Murdo, 47, who lives in Lower Bayble, started working for Royal Mail in Stornoway in 1984 as a cadet.

Murdo said: “The job has changed a lot over the last 30 years. Health and safety is a big priority now – although we do still brave the elements at this time of year as we don’t like to let our customers down. We used to sort the mail by candle light when the power went off – although that sort of thing doesn’t really happen now.

“We quite often get mail that doesn’t have a full address on it, sometimes it doesn’t have an address at all, never mind a postcode. But we almost always find a home for it. It helps that we all know our community really well and have been delivering to the same houses for decades.

“There is a really good feeling in the office. We all know each other. Most of the team have been here a long time – one of the guys has worked in this office for 47 years.

“We have seen letter volumes drop but parcel volumes have gone through the roof. A lot of people here shop online because it saves them having to go to the mainland.

“One of the perks of the job is the part we play in the community – we get to know everyone in the community and it is really nice that they think of us as ‘their postie’.

“Sometimes, especially with our elderly customers, the postie is the only person that they see day-to-day. So quite often I will say hello even if we have no mail for them that day. It puts a smile on people’s faces. I don’t know any other company that would do that.

“It is the vulnerable customers in rural areas that really need the universal service obligation. No other company delivers to every address in the UK six days a week. And we are a real lifeline for a lot of people in the island communities.

“We do so much more than just deliver the mail. The milk goes to Tarbert in our van every day. And quite often we will run errands for our customers who find it hard to get out in about – they tell us what they need when we deliver the post, and drop it round later or the next day.

“There is one elderly woman who invites us in to have a cup of tea on our break. Sometimes it is easier than going back to the office when you are working in a rural area. She has been doing this since before I was a postman. As a thank you, we all club our wages together every Christmas to buy her winter coal – it is the least we can do. She really looks after us.

“We get as much out of helping our customers as they do – we often get homemade scones as a wee thank you.”

Pictured is Murdo Sineath, postman at Stornoway Delivery Office, who started working for Royal Mail in Stornoway in 1984 as a cadet.