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Hoxne residents say farewell to postman Peter Knights after 20 years delivering their mail



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Dozens of villagers came out in Suffolk over the weekend to give a send-off to their much-loved postman of more than 20 years.

Peter Knights has been delivering mail to residents in Hoxne since 2001, and in that time he has become a much-loved figure in the village.

The 59-year old completed his last round on Saturday, and to his surprise more than 30 residents turned out to mark the occasion.

Postman Peter Knights is retiring from his Hoxne post round after 30 years service. Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography 2022
Postman Peter Knights is retiring from his Hoxne post round after 30 years service. Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography 2022

“It absolutely blew me away,” said Mr Knights. “It was totally unexpected and I was just overwhelmed by it all.”

Mr Knights joined the Royal Mail on Valentines Day in 1983, then aged 21, following in footsteps of his father, Cresswell Knights, a well known Diss Town Councillor and former magistrate at Diss and Thetford.

Having only intended to stay for six months, Mr Knights – known as ‘Knightsy’ to friends – ended up seeing the job out all the way until retirement. It was during the latter half of his career, as the sole postie in Hoxne, that he will look back on most fondly, he said.

Residents raised more than £400, along with a host of gifts, for Mr Knights ahead of his retirement. Picture: Peter Knights
Residents raised more than £400, along with a host of gifts, for Mr Knights ahead of his retirement. Picture: Peter Knights

“It’s special when you’re in a place for such a long time.” he said.

“It’s unusual for a postman to stay on one round for this long, but every time it came to signing for rounds, I always chose Hoxne.

“I’ve delivered to many other villages, but Hoxne just felt different.

“It’s such a special, magical village, with such lovely people. They’ve been overwhelming in their kindness and generosity.

Dozens of residents came out in Hoxne on Saturday to give a send-off for Mr Knights. Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography 2022
Dozens of residents came out in Hoxne on Saturday to give a send-off for Mr Knights. Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography 2022

“There’s a continuity to it, because I’ve seen it all change. From babies and children growing up, to people moving in and some sadly departing.

“Every time I came here it just felt like coming home – it’s like a comfortable pair of slippers.”

The village raised more than £400 as a leaving gift for Mr Kinghts, along with dozens of cards and enough bottles of wine and bubbly to stock a small pub.

He now looks forward to enjoying his retirement with his wife of 32 years, Karen Knights, and getting back to his hobbies – with one eye on starting an oil painting tuition group.

“Now I am nudging 40 years’ service and will be 60 in September, I feel the time is right to retire to pursue new projects.” said Mr Knights, who lives in Louie’s Lane, Diss.

“I can see Hoxne as a place I will be returning to frequently for artistic inspiration. So retirement already looks to be exciting and very busy.

“As I bid a temporary farewell, it will be a case of, ‘watch this space’ – it’s a village dear to my heart and a place I will keep returning to.

“During my mid life crisis, I bought a vintage VW campervan, which my wife Karen and I hope to use more often in retirement, too.

“She has been my rock and no doubt will be glad she has no more Post Office shirts to iron.”

Stuart Jarrold – a resident of Abbey Hill, in Hoxne, who has known Mr Knights during his time as the village’s postman – added: “I had never known him without a smile on his face.

“He’s always got the time of day to chat and just a lovely chap, who is warmly appreciated by everyone in the village. He’ll be missed by everyone in the village.”