Residents of Gras Lawn, in central Exeter, gathered at a safe socialising distance on the communal lawn to give a big ‘thumbs-up’ to their postman Mike Vinnicombe. The tribute was to thank him for his ongoing dedication in delivering their post during coronavirus lockdown with his great sense of humour.
The friendly neighbours also kindly donated spare hand sanitiser following an appeal on Facebook by Mike’s partner Julie Conibere asking people to help protect postal workers during their deliveries.
A postman for over 30 years, Mike delivers to c.600 homes in the Wyvern Barracks area of Exeter. During this crisis he has brought light relief with this cheerful disposition when delivering to the post to residents and for the first time in his career is finding that they are all at home due to lockdown.
PR Consultant, Glen King, currently on furlough as are her husband David and son Oliver, has lived in Gras Lawn for 17 years, having bought the Redrow Development show home in 2003.
She said: “Mike is always so cheery and it’s a joy to see him out and about on his rounds. He rings the bell and then respectfully steps back in line with social distancing. He’s a ray of sunshine in these strange times; always happy to take time to stop and chat which is particularly lovely for those on self-isolation who otherwise may not see another soul from day to day.”
Glen adds: “The crazy thing is that when I was working full-time I was not at home for the postal delivery so had no idea what my postman looked like, let alone his name, and now Mike’s like a new best friend who I look forward to seeing each day!”
Mike Vinnicombe said: “It was such a surprise and a lovely thing to do. It has given me a real boost to keep going through these difficult times.”
Glen’s husband David Greensmith who works for Exeter City Council, has set up a Gras Lawn residents App to keep neighbours connected which has proved very popular, and a lifeline for the elderly or those most vulnerable.
David Greensmith said: “It’s always been a lovely place to live and everyone is very friendly, however we all have such busy lives so haven’t found the time to get to know each other better. The Gras Lawn Residents App means we are now all looking after each other however we can, such as offering to get shopping or prescriptions. If you run out of something, then a quick text means someone will drop what you need outside your door if they have it. This is one of the lovely changes that have come out of the Covid-19 crisis, it is giving us time to be kinder and more aware of other’s needs. We are now a much more close-knit community who look out for each other, know each other’s names and take time to say hello and offer a helping hand.”
David also has taken on the personal responsibility of the upkeep of the central communal lawn by regularly mowing it and pruning the foliage so has become a very popular neighbour. He has also cut around the daisies to form the initials V.E. and with the help of others put up jolly bunting which has been admired by both residents and many passers-by.
He comments: “The lawn is centralised to our homes located at the back of the development so it’s lovely and quiet with no through-traffic. We are so lucky to have this wonderful green space in the centre and I want it to keep it looking nice for the benefit of everyone. It’s great to see it being used much more now during lockdown and a welcome outdoor space for exercise, fresh air and a chat with one or two of the neighbours a safe way where everyone respects each other and keeps their distance whilst keeping in touch.”