A POSTMAN who dressed up in a different costume each day of the coronavirus pandemic to cheer up residents has been awarded a BEM.

John Hall, who lives in Didcot with his wife Sue, has been awarded a British Empire Medal for ‘services to the community in Cholsey particularly during covid-19’.

The 61-year-old, who delivers post to the Oxfordshire village, said he was ‘ecstatic’ to receive the award and added it was the ‘icing on top of the cake’ of his fundraising efforts.

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He said: “It is the pinnacle of all my fundraising. I’ve been a fundraiser all my life and have raised more than a quarter of a million pounds for local and national charities.

“So, to be nominated for a BEM is just the icing on the cake and makes everything worthwhile.”

The postman was nominated primarily for the fundraising work completed through the first coronavirus lockdown which started in March 2020.

He decided to deliver post to Cholsey residents in a different costume each day to cheer them up.

“I remember how I felt during the lockdown,” he said. “I was rather down and I thought if I’m feeling that way what about people who are stuck at home? I could still go out and do my job.

“So I came up with the idea for cheer them up and it worked. My boss was very understanding and said, ‘You’re doing something to make people happy’.”

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Mr Hall, who has about 200 different costumes due to attending comic cons with his son, dressed as everything from Thor and Spiderman to Queenie in Blackadder.

After seeing how happy the costumes made people, Mr Hall decided to make a 2021 calendar with each month featuring a different costume.

He raised £4,400 from the calendar which he donated to Cholsey Holiday Play Scheme, a not-for-profit organisation which helps children attend a week of games and activities.

The postman also raised £500 for the NHS at the start of the pandemic before launching his new fundraiser, ‘The 12 challenges of John the Postie’, in 2022.

“I learnt of another group called Cholsey Volunteers,” he said. “I saw first-hand the good work they were doing so I decided I would do fundraising for them.

“My challenges were chosen by the people in the village and I just had to carry them out – I haven’t got a final total of what the challenges raised but it’s close to £4,000.”

His challenges included ‘Dry January’, ‘Vegan February’, dressing in pink for a month and shaving his head.

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Commenting on his BEM award, he added: “The people in the community when they heard about the award have been absolutely amazing and congratulating me.”


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This story was written by Gee Harland. She joined the team in 2022 as a senior multimedia reporter.

Gee covers Abingdon, Didcot, Wallingford and Wantage.

Get in touch with her by emailing: gee.harland@newsquest.co.uk

Follow her on Twitter @geeharland