THE Burton Mail’s oldest paper boy was out on his final round today after announcing his retirement at the age of 81.
John Hardwick, who is known on his rounds as Cedric, has been delivering newspapers for the Mail for more than 50 years.
Mr Hardwick, who has never taken a single day off work while he has been delivering papers, is only stepping down due to failing sight in one eye.
He has delivered all over South Derbyshire, and in particular has served the Woodville, Blackfordby and Goseley Estate areas with distinction.
Mr Hardwick, who in recent years has used a scooter to carry out his duties, said: “I’m really sad that I have got to retire as it’s something I love doing. It’s something which has just become a part of me.
“My sight is going in one eye and I’ve been told I may lose my driving licence, which will stop me from getting out.
“If it wasn’t for that I just would have carried on.
“Over the years I’ve really got to know people and have made friends in all areas.
“I’ve also seen some quite interesting things on my daily delivering travels.”
Mr Hardwick left school at the age of 14 and got a job as a labourer, making toilets and wash basins.
He moved on to work for a company which specialised in making underground pipes, before going down the coal mines for four years.
He then joined the Army and, after two years’ service, went to work in his father’s grocery and newsagent shop in Woodville.
Mr Hardwick added: “I actually first started delivering morning papers 70 years ago when I helped my father out with his grocery and newsagent store. It’s just something I’ve done all of my life.
“On some rounds, back in the day, I’d deliver hundreds and hundreds of papers in one go, but things have changed in the industry now and paper boys seem to be becoming extinct.”
Mr Hardwick, whose last ever round will be on the Goseley Estate, in Hartshorne, said he was looking forward to spending more time with his wife Dawn once he has officially retired.