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The last post for popular Sylvia.

Byline: Mike Morgan

A popular postie has hung up her sack after 30 years' service.

Sylvia Balls, a grandmother of eight, became a familiar face around her routes in East Cleveland and Saltburn.

And, after being the target of several bad-tempered dogs over the years, she has revealed her secret weapon while delivering mail - strong mints!

Sylvia said some troublesome pooches had lain in wait for her on her routes around Skelton, North Skelton, New Skelton and Saltburn, just waiting to pounce.

But others lie in wait each day for a different reason - for some mints from Sylvia's pocket.

Sylvia, 64, was a housewife when, in 1973, her sister Marion, also a postie working in Loftus and East Cleveland, persuaded her to join the Post Office delivery service.

Sylvia, working on foot with a trolley and on her bike, took to the job like a duck to water as she loves meeting people and doesn't mind working in all weathers.

She said: "I've enjoyed every minute and wouldn't have swopped it for the world."

Sylvia added: "Myself, my sister and a friend Eileen Robinson, also from Skelton, were delivering telephone directories when Eileen, who was frightened of dogs, asked if there were any in a particular road.

"We assured her there weren't - but as soon as she got out of the vehicle some brutes appeared from behind the gate and she had to beat a hasty retreat!

"On another occasion, I was delivering directories in Skelton and put them in the back doors of houses and then put more by mistake in the letterboxes at the front thinking they were different houses."

Sylvia now plans to have a rest before taking up one of her many hobbies, which include walking.

Married to Mike, the couple have four grown up children and eight grandchildren.

She received a music centre as a special present from her employers plus a separate presentation from her colleagues at Skelton, and many cards and congratulations from residents on her rounds.

Alan Schubert, Royal Mail Group manager at Skelton delivery office, said: "Sylvia will be much missed and we wish her all the best of luck from management and staff."
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:May 8, 2003
Words:363
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