Norfolk’s oldest paper girl hangs up delivery bag at 88
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
She has endured through the cold and frosty mornings and the wet and windy conditions to deliver newspapers to her village.
Despite hip operations and health scares, Olive Norris MBE, or Betty as she is known, has been providing a dependable service in Thompson, near Watton, for 40 years.
But at the age of 88 Mrs Norris will retire from her six-day-a-week delivery service at the end of this year.
The former village hall secretary of 62 years – who was honoured for her services to Thompson in 2000 – helped to drive her then 13-year-old daughter Teresa around the village for her paper round.
When Teresa left for college Mrs Norris decided to continue to deliver the papers.
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She said: 'I just enjoy doing it. It was lovely to get up in the mornings and go out and go around the village, which is my village. And really I loved to see how the village was each morning. It is just lovely and I so enjoyed it.'
On her favourite thing about the round, she said: 'Just being out in the air in the early mornings and you see the sunrise and people out walking their dogs, it is just lovely.'
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At first she could be seen carrying the papers in baskets on the front and back of her push bike. Now she is out and about from 6.30am in her car.
The only time the grandmother, who also runs the village post office from her house, has taken time off was when she had new hips fitted.
Her granddaughters took over the round for a couple of weeks but were soon joined by Mrs Norris in the back seat.
Granddaughter Lara Blake said: 'She is amazing. Nan is the heart of the village and she always has been.
'She has done a lot for the village from the town hall to the church.
'We were shocked when she told us she was stopping. She just keeps going and never stops.'
Mrs Norris delivers the EDP and national titles to more than 30 houses.
She does the job for free and only claims petrol money.
'It started off as a service to the village and I don't really want the money,' she said. 'I will miss getting up in the mornings. It is lovely in the mornings in the summer months.'
Her last delivery will take place on Saturday, December 30.
The newspaper round
Mrs Norris has used the same route to deliver the papers to Thompson over the past 40 years.
From her home on Hallfield Road, she travels to Norwich Road in Watton to pick up the papers.
Then once she arrives back in the village she goes to Butter's Hall Lane, College Road, Church Road, Hall Lane, Hallfield Road, Tottingtton Road, Griston Road, Mill Road, Watton Road, Pockthorpe Lane, Marlpit Road and back home to Hallfield Road.
Mrs Norris has clocked up more than 100,000 miles during her four-decade career.
She leaves her house at 6.30am and it takes her one hour and 30 minutes to complete the round.
Known around Thompson as the heart of the village, Mrs Norris ran the village shop with her late husband Archibald.
She now runs the post office four mornings a week but has no plans to retire from that just yet.