GEOFFREY Blake has been delivering letters – and a smile – to the residents of Ashford Hill and Headley for almost 17 years.
But yesterday (Wednesday), he hung up his postbag for the last time after announcing his retirement.
Ken Rhatigan, a borough councillor for Kingsclere, wrote in the parish newsletter: “He has provided us with not just our post through this time, but for many he has proved to be an invaluable and considerate friend.”
Mr Blake, who has lived in Thatcham for 25 years, said: “They say I am part of their community which is a little bit strange as I was just doing a job.
“They are a friendly lot, and I have helped them as much as I can over the years.
“A few people have said I should come round for a cup of tea. I will keep in touch.
“They were all so friendly and they listened to me when I was rattling on about my son-in-law.”
Caroline Woodward, from the Headley Community Shop, said: “He is so much a part of our villages. We are really going to miss him.”
Mr Rhatigan added: “Many of us will miss him for his diligence in trying to find a way to deliver an important package or seek a signature from your neighbour.
“This is a man who, despite his own family worries, has always shown a face of concern for others before himself.
“Invariably he is the happiest man that many of us will see on any given day – not too busy to chat and he understands what is going on in our villages.”
Mr Blake will spend his retirement doing up his daughter Sarah’s house and garden before tackling his own.
He is an active member of Team Spirit running club and also cycles 40 miles a week, something he plans to do more of once he retires.