A LOCHMABEN postman has delivered his last letter and hung up his mailbag after 38 years of service.
It was 1983 when a notice in the Annandale Herald’s classifieds page caught Ray Copeland’s eye.
“I saw an advert in the paper for a postman job so I just put my name in for it,” Ray said. “I thought I’d never hear anymore about it. But then I got a call for an interview and got the job.”
Having worked as a joiner for the 12 years prior to that, Ray’s decision to take on a brand new challenge signalled big changes in his life — but was one he never came to regret.
He said: “Most of the time, I’ve covered Lochmaben, Templand and the Courance area, so I know most of the people up there now and all the places.”
Ray, above, who resides in Lockerbie with his wife, added that new technology has brought new challenges to the role since he started.
“The job’s really changed a lot,” he said, “it used to be a straight-forward job, but now it’s all turned technical. It’s a simple job, really, but it’s been made more complicated by technology.
“I was never brought up with technology and such like so I never really adapted to that. But you meet a lot of people and I’ve enjoyed it.
“In the morning, I would have a bit of banter and fun with the colleagues in the office while we were preparing and loading up the mail. Then after that you were out on your own and you’re your own boss.”
On Friday, the passionate postie completed his last round of deliveries and began a well-earned retirement.
He said following his last day: “It was quite emotional actually, I didn’t expect it to be but it was. At the moment I suppose it’s just like being on a fortnight’s holiday – but after that it’ll be totally different.
“I’ll miss it all really. But as you get older it gets harder to get out in the winter, I’ll miss it in the summer certainly more.
“I just want to thank all my colleagues for the way they’ve treated me and all the good wishes and gifts. It’s really overwhelming really.”
Earlier this week Ray’s coworker, Laura Sproat, described him as “one of the most caring and genuine men you’d ever meet”, adding: “He’ll be a great loss at Royal Mail.”
Ray said he plans to spend his retirement travelling around Scotland with his wife, seeing his beloved Queen of the South FC play at Palmerston Park, visiting his son in Glasgow and playing bowles in the summer.
And asked what advice he would give the incoming courier stepping into his shoes, he replied: “It’s important to take your time, do the job right and talk to people. Be decent to people and they’ll be back to you.”