Video: Lewes paper ‘boy’ delivers on his 90th birthday

Leslie Wheeler celebrated his 90th birthday yesterday as he spends every early morning - doing his paper round.

These days, though, his push bike is relegated to the shed as he uses his car.

90 year old paper boy Leslie Wheeler

90 year old paper boy Leslie Wheeler

Surely the oldest paperboy in town and maybe the longest serving, he thinks he has been delivering residents’ papers for about 40 years.

He started working for a newsagent in Station Street, covering the Mountfield, Witerbourne and Houndean area.

His round now takes in Station Street, the Cliffe precinct, Friars Walk, South Street and St Thomas a Becket areas.

He must have been a familiar sight through the years for early risers in the town.

“I did a full-time job but had a paper round on Saturdays and Sundays,” the Valley Road resident said.

“When I retired I started doing the paper round every day.

“I get up about 6am to be at the paper shop about 7am.

“I enjoy doing it. I wake up early anyway.

“If you wake up early you’ve got to do something. I don’t want to just sit in.

“When I was using my bike I got to meet and talk to so many people.

“I shall keep on doing it - I’m part of the establishment.

“My wife probably thinks I’m mad but she’s used to it now.”

Times have changed since he started delivering papers.

He said whereas there were once about 16 rounds from the shop he worked for, now his employer, Forbuoys in the High Street has just a few but they are mainly taken on by youngsters.

“People don’t want their papers delivered these days,” he said.

“There is so much competition with the supermarkets and people don’t want to pay the delivery charges.”

Mr Wheeler worked for the Lewes cement works, starting what was then a temporary job in 1947.

He ended up retiring from the company when it closed down in 1986.

“I was only there for the holiday period in summer but it went on and on,” he said.

He was a driver, delivering cement and worked his way up to being in charge of the fleet, running the schedule for deliveries, until the works shut down.

As well as doing his round, Mr Wheeler was due to celebrate his 90th birthday with a family meal organised by his son.