Dedicated paper delivery man moves on
Fending off dog attacks, falling off bicycles and working in fierce weather have all been a part of everyday life for Alexandra man Stefan van Welie. But after 30 years of delivering newspapers in Alexandra, he is parking his bike. Next week will be Mr van Welie’s last week on the job after he decided to move to Tauranga to be closer to his family. ‘‘I’ll miss the paper. I’ll miss the town, but it’s time to move on,’’ Mr van Welie said. He began as a paper boy at the age of 10. Since then he has watched the town develop day by day and has seen countless new houses built. Six days a week he would start his day at 4.30am to deliver The Southland Times and The Otago Daily Times and once a week he delivers The Mirror and The Central Otago News. ‘‘I’ll miss talking to the people who wait at their driveway every morning for their newspapers.’’ Mr van Welie said he enjoyed ‘‘ploughing through the snow’’ to get papers delivered, has fought off ‘‘plenty of dogs’’ and had several serious bicycle crashes. One crash happened as he was travelling too fast down Bridge Hill and went flying over the handlebars, ‘‘papers and all’’, after braking too hard. ‘‘I’m lucky I was wearing my helmet, my bike fell apart,’’ he said. Wayne Soper, Mr van Welie’s employer for the past 15 years, said he was a ‘‘very dedicated and reliable worker’’. Not everyone would get up early every day to start work, and he was always on time and never late, Mr Soper said.
Final delivery: Alexandra man Stefan van Welie delivers a newspaper in Alexandra. Next week Mr van Welie is retiring from delivering newspapers in Alexandra after 30 years on the job.