Probus president maintains tradition

A LONG-OBSERVED tradition was maintained at the first meeting of the New Year of Montrose and District Probus Club on Tuesday.

For many years the January meeting has heard the president talk about memorable experiences of his working life.

For the first time in quite a few years there is a local man, Mr David Murray, in the presidency, and he shared experiences and anecdotes of places and people, familiar to many members of the club.

From his boyhood years he always wanted to be a postman, and although he originally started his working life as an apprentice grocer, he was interviewed for work in the Post Office in 1957 and, after undergoing compulsory dental treatment, started his career as a Telegram Boy.

His first mentor in Montrose Post Office was Jim Stott, whose son, Bert, is now currently a member of the club. Long before the advent of the Internet, and even before most people had telephones in their homes, telegrams were a special means of communication. Charleton Maternity Home and local fish merchants kept the telegram boys busy.

When he became a regular postman work began just after 5am. Mail arrived from Bridge of Dun Station before that, and the sorting of the mail took place prior to the first delivery at 7am. In those days there was not only a second delivery at 11am but also an intervening parcel post delivery, in which bulky parcels were pushed in a basket on wheels up and down the High Street.

David rose through the ranks of the Post Office and, after attending a lengthy course in Harrogate, began working behind the counter in Montrose. The old Post Office in Bridge Street is a beautiful building, erected in the opening years of the 20th century. On the upstairs floor the telephone exchange was situated. Around 20 years ago, the post office was franchised to the Co–op and downgraded from being a head post office. David was moved to Dundee and shortly after that he took early retirement, but after a stint of working for nine years in Keith Lodge in Stonehaven, he was back working behind the Post Office counter in Montrose.

The president recounted many amusing anecdotes of his earlier years, and explained how, often in wintry weather and despite adverse snowy conditions, the mail had to be delivered.

Members agreed that we should all be more grateful to those, who like him, who still ensure that our mail gets through.