Much-loved postman to retire after 12 dog bites and 35 years

Postman Peter Woollard, who is retiring after 35 years.Photo: KAREN BETHELL

Postman Peter Woollard, who is retiring after 35 years.Photo: KAREN BETHELL - Credit: Archant

When north Norfolk postman Peter Woollard started work 35 years ago, there were two mail deliveries a day and internet shopping was a thing of the future.

But times have changed, and while today's postal workers have to complete just one round a day, they are also tasked with making sure a huge number of parcels get to their destination.

Mr Woollard, who will be hanging up the keys to his van for the final time when he retires on October 20, said that while he would miss his colleagues and customers, he was looking forward to enjoying a more relaxing life.

'Things are very different now,' he explained. 'The workload is much higher, it's high pressure and, with internet shopping, it is a much more physical job.'

Cromer-born Mr Woollard, whose father was stage manager at the town's Pavilion Theatre, was made redundant from jobs at three local firms before a friend suggested becoming a temporary postman covering the Christmas period in 1983.

He was called back just weeks later and was eventually taken on full-time, delivering the post around Sheringham town centre and seafront.

Over the years, Mr Woollard has become familiar with just about every street in Sheringham and is often called on for help by colleagues when letters or parcels have missing or misspelled names and addresses.

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'Sometimes there will be no name, no postcode, the wrong number or even the wrong road, but, because I've been covering the area for so long, I can usually work out who a letter is for,' he said.

He has also had his fair share of hairy moments, including having to call an ambulance for a customer who had fallen off a ladder, and being bitten by around a dozen dogs.

'One particular one sticks in my mind as the owner had told us the dog had no teeth, but that didn't stop it from sinking its gums into my leg when I collided with it unexpectedly coming round a corner,' he remembered.

Mr Woollard, 64, said he is looking forward to spending more time with his five-year-old grandson and on his hobby of photography.

'I will miss my customers,' he said. 'I have seen their children grow up, I've shared their ups and downs and I'd like to think I've become a friend, rather than just a postman.'