A 103-year-old, who is still living independently at home received, a special delivery last week. Margaret Swan had got in touch with the Teesdale Mercury so she could praise the efforts of postman Chris Wheel. The avid letter writer says the postal servi
A 103-year-old, who is still living independently at home received, a special delivery last week. Margaret Swan had got in touch with the Teesdale Mercury so she could praise the efforts of postman Chris Wheel. The avid letter writer says the postal servi

A DALE centenarian has described how invaluable the postal service is to elderly rural people still living at home.

Margaret Swan, who was once helped by her postie to get back to her feet after a fall in her Wycliffe home several years ago, say letters are her only way of keeping contact with her family across globe.

Even through recent wintry weather, her postman Chris Wheel faithfully delivered cards and letters from Australia, South Africa and America.

The 103-year-old also relies on the postman to deliver the latest news about her explorer son Robert Swan who tours the world giving talks about the environment. Mr Swan is best known for being the first person to walk to the north and south poles.

Mrs Swan said: “People in America can’t believe how wonderful our postal service is. In America where my son lives they have to go to the sorting office to collect their mail.

“It is enormously important. We have always been a strong family and keeping in touch has been a family tradition. It is an excellent service – we are so lucky.”

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Mrs Swan’s carer, Monika Allen, from Christies Care added: “Sometimes she gets her letter even if the address is wrong – she is so well known she still gets her letters.”

The carer has now put some of the many cards, newspaper clippings and photographs Mrs Swan has received through the post over the year on a “wall of fame” in the kitchen as a reminder of the family’s achievements and other important moments in their lives.

Mrs Allen said: “But I can’t put everything up otherwise you wouldn’t see the kitchen wall.”

Mrs Swan’s praise has been welcomed by Royal Mail officers. John Small, Royal Mail Barnard Castle delivery office manager, said: “I am delighted that we are able to keep Mrs Swan connected with her family through the mail and that she values our services so highly.

“It is always gratifying when our customers recognise the hard work of their postmen or women who deliver in all weathers six days a week."