After about 20 years delivering newspapers around Richmond, Terry Beach has decided to call it a day.
Terry, who has become known by many during that time, first started after the Honda assembly plant in Nelson closed in 1998.
That meant he lost his job, and, as his wife had just taken over a daily newspaper delivery contract at the time, Terry took on a round as he found other work hard to find.
He has been a fixture on the streets of Richmond ever since.
Not only has he helped co-ordinate the delivery team, he has personally delivered every run at some point, whether that has been short-term cover or taking longer term responsibility.
“I know every street in the area, apart from some of the new ones,” he says, adding that he reckons he could pinpoint most letter boxes in Richmond.
During his time on the job, Terry has seen plenty of changes.
Early on, delivery boys and girls doing the daily newspaper run had a maximum of about 60 houses to cover in an afternoon, some a lot less.
These days the paper comes out in the morning and the runs have got larger – one is up to just under 300 papers – so it’s now adults who do the job.
Delivering has seen him on the streets in all types of weather.
“The worst times are when it’s blowing a gale,” he says. “The rain is as good as gold really.
“When it’s blowing you have to stop and make sure the paper is really in the letter box, otherwise it blows out.”
He says some letter boxes are better than others.
“Some only have a slot big enough for letters, not a paper. Tubes are the best of the lot.”
He never had any problems with dogs guarding their territory.
“No, animal-wise there’s not been any trouble. There was even one dog that carried the paper inside (to its owner).”
The week before every Christmas was the best time to be delivering newspapers, Terry says.
He gave out Christmas cards to some of the “old dears” on his rounds, while some people returned the favour with their own thank-yous, including boxes of chocolates.
He says it’s the people he has met over the years that he will miss, rather than the job itself, now that he has retired from his day-to-day role.
“I will miss chatting to people, especially the old folks who know when I’m going to show up. I have enjoyed having a yarn or a bit of a joke with them.”
What he won’t miss is the 3am starts, although he is still around to deliver missed papers – at a much more respectable time of about 9am.