A veteran journalist has resumed work as a paperboy after almost 40 years following the expansion of his newspaper’s home delivery service.
Stuart Laundy, who works for independent weekly the Teesdale Mercury, volunteered his services when help was needed to get papers out to hundreds of readers who had requested a home delivery during the coronavirus lockdown.
The 52-year-old reckons his last paper round was as a 14-year-old in 1981.
For the past 34 years he has worked as a journalist, travelling widely, including stints in the Gulf and holding editor’s posts in Orkney, Berwick-upon-Tweed and Galashiels along the way. He has been with the Barnard Castle-based Mercury for the past six years.
Stuart, pictured, said: “The company has a newsagent’s shop as part of the business which acts as the distribution point not only for the Mercury, but for the daily papers as well.
“Like many other small businesses, we have been affected by the current situation and at the outset I had offered to help if needed.
“When one of the young lads was signed off for a couple of weeks and the call came, I was only too happy to help.”
His round sees him tackle one of the more hilly parts of his patch.
Stuart added: “There is one particular street which arcs round and up and brings home the fact I am not in the first flush of youth. But be honest, I have loved doing it – and it is doing me the world of good.
“There is, of course, a serious point to all this. Like any other small business, the Mercury is having to adapt and operate more flexibly than at any other time in its long history.
“We have more then 200 extra delivery customers and if getting up an hour earlier to ensure readers receive their papers in time for breakfast is what it takes to help us through these most unpredictable of times, then I’m happy to do it.”