07/01/2008

Nominations Sought For 1st Class Royal Mail Award

The public throughtout Northern Ireland are being invited to nominate Royal Mail postmen and women as the unsung heroes of their community – and enter themselves in a holiday prize draw at the same time.

The aim is to identify the winners of a coveted 1st Class People Award, so Royal Mail would like to hear customers' stories about any postmen and women who are perhaps charity fundraisers in their spare time, have performed a public-spirited act or dealt with an emergency while doing their deliveries.

Michael Kennedy, Royal Mail’s General Manager in Northern Ireland said: “Because our people make daily deliveries to all 27 million addresses in the UK, including 750,000 addresses in Northern Ireland, they are often first at the scene in house fires, road accidents, and robberies and they instinctively get involved.

“Postmen and women frequently go to the aid of customers in distress, and because they visit the same neighbourhood on a daily basis they may notice when an elderly person isn’t around or when something isn’t quite right, and can raise the alarm," he said.

Last year Royal Mail was contacted by thousands of customers who nominated their postman or woman as an ‘unsung hero’.

For example, over 4,500 people at Royal Mail are trained first-aiders and amongst the nominations last year were 28 examples of people being saved by postmen and women. Emergency services have said that 19 of those people would not be alive today without someone from Royal Mail going to their aid.

Most rescues have been from house fires, and several from car crashes, but people have also been saved from drowning, suicide attempts and given first aid or resuscitated in the street.

Elderly people have lain injured in their own homes until found by their postman, including one pensioner who lay collapsed in his bath for two days and would have died of hypothermia if his postman hadn’t noticed he wasn’t around and gone to investigate.

“Postman of the Year 2007” was Grimsby postman Norman Walker whose actions helped save the man’s life, with no thought to his own safety.

Norman and his family were setting off on holiday when a car hit the central reservation, trapping the driver who suffered multiple injuries to his face, arms and legs.

The car was leaking fuel and smoking, but Norman smashed his way into the car to help and stayed there for one and a half hours, holding the man’s jaw together, administering oxygen and tilting his head to stop him choking on blood while the emergency teams worked around them, trying to cut the man free.

As the fire brigade cut away the roof Norman placed his body over the injured man to prevent breaking glass from the car windows falling into the wounds.

The driver, whose injuries included a fractured pelvis, broken elbow, lacerations to the face, missing teeth and a broken jaw and broken left leg, had his right leg amputated below the knee following the accident but despite all this is making a remarkable recovery.

Last year’s finalists representing Northern Ireland were John McCarroll from Ballymena, Martin McDonald from Newry and Stephen Quinn from Coleraine in their respective categories of bravery, charity fundraising and community involvement

John McCarroll, a postman in Ballymena won the award for saving a man’s life while delivering mail on his rounds earlier this year.

Meanwhile, Martin McDonald, based at Newry Delivery Office won the Fundraising Award for his work in raising thousands of pounds to support the local hospice.

Stephen Quinn, a postman at the Coleraine office won the Community Involvement award for his tireless work with the Tullans mini-soccer school in the Windyhall area of Coleraine.

Michael Kennedy added: “The bravery stories make Royal Mail sound like the fourth emergency service but postmen and women make it more than that. Our postmen and women are a group of very remarkable people who contribute so much, with acts of kindness, a huge amount of fundraising, and a commitment to volunteering which makes such a difference to the local communities where they live and work.

“The awards are in their fourth year and some amazing acts of heroism and generosity have come to light. The nomination process also runs internally but some of our people are very modest about their good deeds, so we need help from the public,”

Royal Mail’s people have given in excess of £27.5 million to charity through payroll- giving over the past 15 years, and are also enthusiastic fundraisers, donating thousands of hours of their spare time and millions of pounds to good causes and community projects.

There is a prize pot of over £30,000 for the winning postmen and women, with the regional winners going forward to the national final to find Royal Mail’s postman or woman of the year.

Nominations should be sent to: 1st Class People Awards, Royal Mail, 1st Floor, 148 Old Street, London EC1V 9HQ, or emailed to nominations@royalmail.com giving as much information as possible about the postman or woman, plus your contact details, so your name can be entered into the customer prize draw to win £1000 in holiday vouchers. The closing date for entries is January 25, 2008.

(BMcC)

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