DOG bites, ferocious storms and a ravenous goose have all failed to stop a Barnstaple postman from entering his 40th year of delivering mail.
Keith Jones reached the milestone on Tuesday when he was presented with a long service certificate by the Royal Mail.
The 58-year-old first joined the company in 1974 as a telegram boy. Ten days later he was permanently employed as a postman.
Currently Barnstaple’s longest serving postman, Keith said he never expected to still be in the job so many years down the line.
He said: “I was only 18 at the time and I had five other jobs before then. It was so easy to go between jobs I never imagined to still be doing the same one.
“But to be honest they have been great to me. I was taught how to drive through the job and the people you work with, they are a great bunch of guys.
“That’s probably the main reason why I’m still working for them after all these years.”
During his time in the role, Keith has experienced significant changes in both the industry and his life – including the scrapping of the group’s afternoon deliveries.
However, he said the most significant change came just one year into the job when he met his wife Katheryn – who was the daughter of the then sub-post master in Ashford.
“I married her and I have got the Royal Mail to blame for that,” he said. “They even delayed our wedding. We were going to have it at 2pm but her mum was not allowed to close the shop until 3pm.”
Keith said that although there were many benefits in his 40 year career, people considering a postman’s job should be aware of a number of occupational hazards.
He said: “I have been bitten four times. I was bitten twice in one day by a little terrier but it’s not bad over 40 years – it’s only one every 10 years.
“I have also been chased by a ravenous goose. They are nasty little things.
“But the worst thing about the job is the weather. This year so far has been particularly bad. I think we’re all hoping to get some good weather soon.”