WHILE AN Post often receives harsh criticism, recent exploits by our national postal delivery service will ensure it rockets up in the estimations of many a customer.
Three weeks ago a Mayo-based couple, Jack and Marie Birkett, were the grateful recipients of a beautiful Christmas card from a life-long friend in Wales. While it may be said that such a late delivery hardly constitutes an effective service, the card in question took a peculiar route and only reached its destination due to the extraordinary efforts of Jim Keegan of the Athlone Mailing Centre.
The Ballintubber couple, who are originally from Manchester, moved west over eight years ago and during the course of their packing misplaced the address and phone number of Helen Davis, a close friend of Marie.
Prior to the Birketts moving to Skehanagh lower, Marie and Helen had stayed in contact solely through regular letter-writing. News of family events, birthdays, anniversaries and other happy occasions were all exchanged as letters passed to and fro between the residencies of Manchester and Wales.
All contact ceased for over two years, until a phone call to the Birkett household ensured that the new year began with some joyous news.
“The first week in January the telephone rang and a man called Jim Keegan introduced himself saying that he was from the Athlone Mailing Centre and enquiring if we had friends in the UK. I said we had and I gave him a few names. He told me that he had one of the names on a Christmas card which was for us. However, on the card itself only our names and Ireland were written on the envelope and the address of Athlone Mailing Centre, which someone in Ireland had tagged on to it,” explained Jack.
The card which was addressed to the retired couple simply had their names, country of residence and a short footnote appealing to the postal service to locate Marie and Jack.
Owing to the relentless investigative work of Jim Keegan, which included a huge number of phone calls to postal stations and an extensive search of the telephone directory, he managed to locate the Mancunian couple and inform them of the good news.
“We were delighted to get the card and would never have got it if it was not for the great work of Jim Keegan and the Athlone Mailing Centre. My wife and Helen have made contact and have once again exchanged addresses and phone numbers,” said Jack.