A FOOTBALL-MAD newspaper delivery boy has taken on extra rounds to ensure residents in his community continue to get their copy of the Oxford Mail.

With many vulnerable residents across the country self-isolating, their morning copy of a newspaper is often their only way to keep up-to-date with the coronavirus situation.

In addition to this, Barton boy Luke Surman, 14, has voluntarily increased the number of papers he delivers to help cover one of his colleagues.

Luke previously delivered 40 papers and has now picked up a further 50.

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He said: “The man who did one of the other rounds has hurt his leg, so he can’t do it at the minute.

“I’m helping cover his round as I just thought I’d be helpful and I like my job.”

Luke has found that with vulnerable people in self-isolation, many of whom might not see another person that day, he is taking a bit more time to talk to residents.

“Normally I catch people outside their house and have a quick chat with them for a couple of minutes before I carry on,” he said.

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The Cheney School pupil began delivering the paper in July last year.

“I was always asking my mum for money so decided I’ll do the paper round to have my own money,” he explained.

“I can buy my own stuff and I can buy presents for my mum, and brothers and sisters, for their birthdays.”

Luke delivers the paper six days a week, often out at 6.45am to do his round.

Since taking on the extra workload, he has added another 45 minutes to his morning round.

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“I go out on my bike as it’s quicker but sometimes I’ll walk with my younger brother and take the dog too,” he said.

Luke’s mum, Jenny, added: “I’m very proud of him taking on the extra rounds.

“He never causes any fuss, he just gets on with it.

“His dad has helped him out the odd time, we all do it together as a family - Luke’s brothers and sisters do a couple of the houses near us.”

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Although he’s currently delivering papers, football is Luke’s main passion.

He said: “I like playing football and I play for ETC (Emerging Talent Centres) for Oxford United - I want to get into their academy.”

However, if football doesn’t work out, Luke said he wants to work as an electrician or in construction.

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The World Health Organization has confirmed newspapers remain safe to read during the coronavirus pandemic. It stated the likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low, and therefore the risk of contracting Covid-19 through receipt of a printed paper is infinitely small.

In addition, the Government has identified news media organisations and those that work across it as a key public service.

For many isolated individuals, a delivered newspaper is the only way to keep connected to the local community through this period of isolation, offering advice, help, key local information and solace.

Do you know someone who would like to get free home delivery of the Oxford Mail every day? If so, call free on 01865 425282.