TOWN MP Iain Wright swapped the House of Commons for the letterboxes of Hartlepool as he stepped into the shoes of a postman.
The MP visited the Clark Street sorting office in town before going out on a three-and-half-hour post around the Burbank area of Hartlepool.
Mr Wright, who wanted to find out more about the business and demonstrate his support for the Royal Mail, took the opportunity to speak to staff and management about the issues and challenges they face.
After completing the round, Mr Wright told the Mail how physically demanding the job is and praised the job of postmen and women in the town.
“I think the Royal Mail is a much valued institution in the country and the service they provide is extremely important,” he said.
“For me, going out on the round was a way of finding out more about the business and also a way of saying thanks for the job they do.”
Despite the sun not shining, it stayed dry for the MP during the round. But he said he acknowledges how tough the job can be for Royal Mail staff in the depths of the winter.
“Going out on a dark winter morning is a different environment altogether,” he added.
“I think we do take them for granted because they provide a first class service.
“At times it can be quite threatening for them as well with aggressive dogs.”
The number of Amazon parcels caught the eye of the MP when he was in the office and staff also revealed that the amount of parcels ordered on eBay has rocketed in recent years.
He said: “The number of people buying online is helping to sustain the Royal Mail business.
“The number of letters being sent is going down dramatically.
“I have seen that as my time as MP and I now get most of my correspondence through email but I always make a point of replying by letter in support of the Royal Mail.”
Mr Wright took the opportunity to speak to staff about how the Clark Street office can be developed, especially looking at how parking nearby can be improved.
“I was talking to the staff about how the customer experience can be improved,” said the MP.
“The waiting room can only fit two or three people in and we also chatted about parking outside.
“A primary school is directly opposite the office so the parking needs to be useful for those visiting the office but the children’s safety is paramount.”