A GRANDDAD-of-nine says he was "very moved" as his final shift as a postman after 47 years of service saw the community he served throw him a surprise farewell.

Richard Spreckley, from Prescot,  has been a Royal Mail postman for 47 years, serving the Rainhill community.

Today was his final shift and his last collection was at Rainhill Post Office on Friday, March 24.

St Helens Star:

To mark the occasion, business owners and people in the community along with a parish council representative came together in the post office to surprise him with a farewell gathering – which included a certificate, flowers, bucks fizz and cakes.

Representatives from Royal Mail also turned up to the event organised by the post office owner Sara Barlow.

St Helens Star: Richard's last post collectionRichard's last post collection (Image: newsquest)

Dad-of-five Richard, 63, said: “It was lovely to be surprised, I’m very moved actually.

“I’m happy to be retiring and apprehensive too because you never know what the future holds.

“I’m very lucky to have three families. My wife, children and grandchildren of course, then my church family and my Royal Mail family and the community.

“I’m sad to leave a job I love but I won’t miss the early morning wake ups in the rain.

St Helens Star: Richard received a certificate from Rainhill Parish CouncilRichard received a certificate from Rainhill Parish Council (Image: newsquest)

“My wife retired last year from the care sector so tonight we are celebrating with a meal out with some of our grandchildren, then we will go on a lovely holiday later in the year to celebrate.

“It’s an honour to serve a community, you are often the only person someone sees that day, in Covid that certainly was the case.

“It’s not just delivering post, it’s being there for people, someone to talk to, a friendly face, comforting them in times of need.”

Asked what he is looking forward to the most, he added: “Retirement just means loving my wife that little bit more than I already do, spending more time with her. I’m very lucky to do that.

St Helens Star: Richard with his Royal Mail colleaguesRichard with his Royal Mail colleagues (Image: newsquest)

“I’ve seen colleagues not reach retirement, so I feel blessed to have the opportunity to do that.”

Sara Barlow, the owner of Rainhill Post Office who held the event, added: “Richie is just great and will be really missed.

“I have had here for five years now and he’s been our postman since day one and during Covid when I was worried and working here on my own he’d come in and cheer me up and even bought me cakes, he’s a lovely man.

St Helens Star: Richard outside Rainhill Post Office on Warrington Road Richard outside Rainhill Post Office on Warrington Road (Image: newsquest)

“He’s so caring and checks up on everyone, he is unassuming and doesn’t expect anything from anyone.

“He has always gone above and beyond for this community, so I’m happy we could get a few people together to show him how much he means to us all and how he will be missed.”