Graffham says goodbye to favourite postman

Retiring postman  Stephen Boakes (middle) with his wife Diane (left) and Graffam well wishers, including Daphne Taylor.  ''Picture by Louise Adams C130817-2 Mid Graffam Postman
Retiring postman Stephen Boakes (middle) with his wife Diane (left) and Graffam well wishers, including Daphne Taylor. ''Picture by Louise Adams C130817-2 Mid Graffam Postman
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A VILLAGE has bid farewell to its postman of more than 25 years, who has taken an early retirement.

Steve Boakes has been highly spoken of throughout the village of Graffham – a community he has been serving for more than a quarter of a century.

Following his retirement, chairman of Graffham Parish Council Richard Davidson said Steve was well regarded throughout the area.

“He was regarded as a wonderful postman for the Graffham community,” he said.

“He was cheerful, helpful and caring and we are very sorry to see him go.”

However, Steve has not vanished from the public eye completely.

He still does some of the gardening at the Petworth Surgery and will soon be taking on a cleaning contract there too with his wife Diane.

“It’s good news for the people that use Petworth Surgery,” said Richard.

“I think everybody would tell you exactly what a friendly and helpful person he’s been.”

Steve was a postman for more than 40 years. His last round was on Saturday, June 1.

On Tuesday of this week, residents of the village gathered together outside Graffham Village Shop to say farewell and thank you.

The shop had a secret collection and presented Steve with John Lewis vouchers.

“He was delighted with everything, not just from that day but from everyone on his round giving him cards and well wishes,” said his wife Diane afterwards.

“He was quite taken aback.”

The couple were both born in Petworth and celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary in September.

Because they did not have an official party to celebrate his retirement they will combine it with their anniversary in the autumn.

During his time, Steve delivered three 100th birthday telegrams from the Queen to Graffham residents.

“I think I’m the only postman that’s delivered that many in Petworth,” he said.

He said he was sad to leave his customers behind but had many happy memories.