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WATCH: Royal Mail Norwich during the busiest week of the year

PUBLISHED: 15:23 13 December 2018 | UPDATED: 15:47 13 December 2018

From back to front: Andrew Partridge, Peter Mennicke and Derek Pope, sorting mail at Royal Mail's Norwich Mail Centre, on it's busiest day of the year (December 13th). Photo: Ella Wilkinson

From back to front: Andrew Partridge, Peter Mennicke and Derek Pope, sorting mail at Royal Mail's Norwich Mail Centre, on it's busiest day of the year (December 13th). Photo: Ella Wilkinson

Archant

As people rush to get their greetings cards delivered before Christmas, the sorting centre on Thorpe Road faces its busiest week of the year.

There is a pleasant organisation in the huge warehouse, where huge stacks of letters are sorted by two intelligent letter sorting machines. The machines check the address and cancel the stamp before sorting the envelopes into boxes of 250.

Any letters that are too big or illegible are sorted manually.

Andrew Partridge feeling festive at Royal Mail's Norwich Mail Centre on it's busiest day of the year. Photo: Ella WilkinsonAndrew Partridge feeling festive at Royal Mail's Norwich Mail Centre on it's busiest day of the year. Photo: Ella Wilkinson

Engineers are on the site 24 hours a day in case of a technical malfunction, though Norwich Plant Manager Phil Jones explains that this rarely happens.

For the festive period, the centre has recruited 178 Christmas temps, which is an increase on the 150 people recruited last year. Mr Jones emphasises that without the help of the additional employees, handling all the Christmas post would be impossible.

Children's letters to Santa at Royal Mail's Norwich Mail Centre.Which has handles millions of items of Christmas mail on Decemeber the 13th, it's busiest day this year. Photo: Ella WilkinsonChildren's letters to Santa at Royal Mail's Norwich Mail Centre.Which has handles millions of items of Christmas mail on Decemeber the 13th, it's busiest day this year. Photo: Ella Wilkinson

He said: “We’re totally reliant on them. At the end of their contract we thank them all and remind them that they are key to the whole process. We couldn’t do it without them.”

Between Monday and Wednesday this week, the centre has processed 5.2 million items, including 1.9 million letters and cards. On an average Monday to Wednesday, the centre would process 240,000 parcels manually. This figure has more than tripled this week with 820,000 parcels being sorted by staff.

Paul Winter sorting through millions of items of Christmas mail at the Royal Mail's Norwich Mail Centre on its busiest day this year. Photo: Ella WilkinsonPaul Winter sorting through millions of items of Christmas mail at the Royal Mail's Norwich Mail Centre on its busiest day this year. Photo: Ella Wilkinson

A second Norwich premises has been opened near the airport exclusively for parcels throughout December. Last night an additional 35 staff were working there, as well as the 100 on Thorpe Road, to get people’s first class post delivered on time.

Thousands of cards each year are also sent to Santa, and any children keen enough to send their Christmas list before December 7 this year were lucky enough to get a reply from his postal elves.

Royal Mail's Norwich Mail Centre will handle millions of Christmas letters on it's busiest day of the year (December 13th). Photo: Ella WilkinsonRoyal Mail's Norwich Mail Centre will handle millions of Christmas letters on it's busiest day of the year (December 13th). Photo: Ella Wilkinson

The final day for second class postage is Thursday December 18. Mr Jones advised that the public can help with the abundance of Christmas post by preventing delays.

He said: “Check that you’ve written the right address and it’s legible for the ILSM. Then make sure you use the right postage. And be prepared, send your cards as early as possible.”

Nigel Hull sorting through mail at Royal Mail's Norwich Mail Centre on it's busiest day of the year. Photo: Ella WilkinsonNigel Hull sorting through mail at Royal Mail's Norwich Mail Centre on it's busiest day of the year. Photo: Ella Wilkinson

Sorting through millions of letters can seem monotonous work, but Mr Jones assured us that working in the sorting office is worthwhile.

“Everyone expects what they have to do. The team put in long hours and are very committed but it’s worth it to know that each item is personal. It’s so rewarding.”

Royal Mail's Norwich Mail Centre will handle millions of Christmas letters on it's busiest day of the year (December 13th). Photo: Ella WilkinsonRoyal Mail's Norwich Mail Centre will handle millions of Christmas letters on it's busiest day of the year (December 13th). Photo: Ella Wilkinson

Although this week is the busiest of the year, the Christmas rush doesn’t stop on December 25.

“Christmas for us starts in November and ends in January,” Senior PR Manager Jessy Prestidge added.

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