‘Hero of the moment’
Cambridge postman of 17 years, John Houston, has been bringing joy to his customers in Bar Hill with his charity work and fancy-dress antics.
So much joy in fact, that when the pupils at Bar Hill School were asked to write about ‘British heroes’ for an English project, one little boy chose John.
‘He is not a hero in the history books,’ said the boy. ‘But I consider him a hero of the moment. Our community postman John P Houston is a hero. Besides the fact that he does his job very well, he gives us a smile with his various jokes and clothes. He will surely remain in the history books in our community.’
One of John’s customers, Delia Callaghan, said: ‘He has brought sunshine into our lives,’ while another, Antonia Christallino, added: ‘He’s a joy to see – such a kind and lovely man.’ A third customer was so enamoured with John that she wrote the below poem to him as a Christmas present:
‘It’s not just the sunshine
That brightens up our day
This certain postman does it
Even when the skies are grey.
Always bright and cheerful
With a lovely beaming smile
Delivering our letters
As he walks mile after mile.
A charitable person
A thoughtful man as well
‘Cause when we were in lockdown
He’d turn up as William Tell
Or a knight in shining armour
And many other things.
We’re not sure he realises
How much joy he brings.
So Happy Christmas Mr Houston
Or, shall we call you John?
Just one request, don’t change your round
Keep calm and carry on!’
When we asked John how he felt about being on the receiving end of so much love, he said: ‘I felt quite humbled. I was really touched that someone had spent the time to write such a lovely poem.
‘As to the homework, being described as a hero, left me speechless. Since then, I have formed a special bond with the child and his family.’
John said that the best thing about being a postie was interacting with customers, particularly during such challenging times.
‘Some people are grateful to see me as I may be the only person they talk to during the day at the moment,’ he said. ‘It’s sad to see so many people who are lonely.’
John’s wife, Christine, said: ‘John had so much support during the summer from the village where he lives and works when he did a sponsored cycle ride and raised over £4,500 for Alzheimer's Society.
‘Over Christmas, he was even asked by the village to judge a children’s Christmas drawing competition.’
Delivery line manager, Poppy McKernan, added: ‘John is a hardworking, funny individual, and although he’ll hate me for saying it, he’s a big softy at heart! He always works so hard and is a truly valued member of our team.’