Remembering Petworth's singing postman Mike Hubbard

The singing postman of Petworth has been remembered for his quick wit and good nature, having died at the age of 85.

Mike Hubbard was born during WW2 in Lickfold, and attended Lodsworth School where he made some life-long friends, several of whom shared Mike’s passion for cricket.

During his teenage years, Mike developed what would become life-long passions - for cricket, especially watching Sussex at the Hove County Cricket Ground; for motorbikes, which he rode well into his sixties; for tenor singing, with Beniamino Gigli and later Luciano Pavarotti among his heroes; for Liberal politics, being a fan of both David Lloyd-George and later Paddy Ashdown; and for entertaining, which he did with the Petworth Edwardians in the 1970s and continued at any opportunity right up until 2019 here in Lurgashall.

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He joined the Royal Mail in Petworth in April 1957, and had rounds all across the Petworth area, including Lurgashall, Lickfold and Lodsworth as well as Ebernoe, Balls Cross, Graffham and Selham. He would invariably be whistling or singing as he delivered the mail.

Michael and June

Mike married June, the love of his life, in early 1961, and after a few years living in Byworth where their children Sally and Andrew were born, the family then moved into Dawtrey Road in Petworth.

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Mike retired from the Post Office in 2001 and he and June took full advantage of his free time by going travelling, including to Australia to visit Mike’s brother Colin and his family.

In 2007, Mike was asked by the Petworth Society to become the Petworth Town Crier – a role he undertook with great pride, and a lovely costume – for eight years.

The singing postman

In the early 2000s, Mike sat down and hand-wrote over 250 A4 pages of his memoirs.

Originally intended just for family and friends, in 2017 he asked Sarah Matthews together with Francis and Rose Dillon Thiselton to help him turn these pages into a book. Two years later, ‘A Postman’s Patter’ was published.

An entertainer to the last, his family said that even during his final stay in St Richard’s hospital, Mike was entertaining his ward-mates and the staff with songs and funny stories.

The last words go to Mike himself: “Perhaps that’s my nature, right or wrong, but I have always been content with life. I have a lovely wife, two nice children, a lovely grandchild, my life as a singer and entertainer that I have loved from the age of six when I started with Grandad ‘Winkle’ Ayling, my love of the Sussex countryside and my love of the Sussex County Cricket Club. What more can a man want?’

Copies of Mike Hubbard’s book, ‘A Postman’s Patter’, can be ordered from [email protected]Half of the cost price will be donated to the Samaritans and Battersea Dogs and Cats Home – Mike’s two favourite charities.