With just one week until Christmas, the team at Horsham Royal Mail Delivery Office are busy moving hundreds of cards and parcels from depot to door.
Today (Thursday December 18) is the last day for second class post and the rush has begun to ensure everything arrives by the big day. Post for all RH12 and RH13 postcodes arrives overnight from Gatwick sorted by postal round, street and house number. Once delivered to Horsham, staff then hand-sort the post ready to take out.
Seasonal post starts swelling post offices from mid November, with events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday causing other peaks in postal traffic in the run-up to Christmas.
Royal Mail delivered an estimated 115million parcels over Christmas last year, not including cards or letters.
Although Christmas cards remain popular, internet shopping has seen more parcels than ever flooding in this festive season.
A recent survey by Royal Mail showed 89 per cent of people would prefer to send a traditional Christmas card with 11 per cent opting for some sent by email.
Central sorting offices such as Gatwick will take on upwards of 400 extra staff to meet deadlines.
Horsham sorting office delivery manager Glenn Johnson said: “It’s a big, big jump. I think it’s got earlier every year. It’s now the middle of November.
“People are definitely starting the posting (of Christmas cards) earlier.”
He added: “In all the years, I know whatever we have had chucked at us, the staff have got it done.”
For parcel deliveries, customers can now elect to ‘Deliver to a Neighbour’ if they are out.
Glenn said: “It’s been really successful nationally. Even if it’s left next door, it saves time. It’s been a real winner.”
Despite the flurry of activity, post remains a very personal service.
Some of the staff at Horsham have been working there for around 30 years.
One employee recently retired after 50 years’ service.
Glenn said: “You have a special relationship on the team indoors, but they also get to know their residents.
“There was a house fire dealt with during this year.”
In the last few posting days before Christmas, he kindly reminded people to use a postcode and a stamp.
The last date for first class post is Saturday December 20 and Royal mail Special Guaranteed Delivery is Tuesday December 23.
For more information about postal dates go to www.postoffice.co.uk.
In the spirit of Christmas, we have composed this poem for the occasion:
T’was the week before Christmas,
And all was a flutter,
At Horsham Royal Mail,
They were sorting their clutter.
But clutter it was not,
It’s parcels - mine and yours,
They are piled up to the ceiling,
Nearly out of the doors.
For all of the presents,
And post that delight,
They’re moving mountains,
To get the job right.
The staff at the post room,
Will work till all’s done,
They’ll strive to deliver,
Every last one.