A Wigan pensioner discovered that bungling postal workers had been delivering his mail to the wrong address for more than a year.
It was only when the latest tenant of a house round the corner - bearing the same number but different street name - turned up with a bundle of letters for Ted Dakin dating back months that the cock-up was realised.
Efforts thereafter to get the problem sorted, including firing off letters of complaint to the Royal Mail, have not been successful, although after the Observer intervened, he has received a new letter of apology, a £50 cheque and a promise to sort the issue.
The 86-year-old former water board worker, who was recently widowed, has lived in the same house in Gidlow Lane since 1973. It was more than a year ago that he remembers certain items of post he was expecting was failing to arrive.
It wasn’t as if all his post dried up though: had it done so he might have realised what was amiss sooner.
Only when a man, newly arrived at the address in nearby Diggle Street with the same number as Mr Dakin’s, arrived in May with a big bundle of mail, some of it 12 months old (that previous tenants hadn’t bothered forwarding), that the penny began to drop.
The resident has made several more deliveries to Mr Dakin since as Royal Mail promise to solve the problem were not fulfilled.
Short story-writer Mr Dakin said: “It is strange and a bit worrying. What if an important medical letter for an appointment or test results didn’t get to me?
“As it is there has been all sorts of mail still not arriving until my new friend passes it on. That first bundle he found in a cupboard included greetings cards, a letter from my publisher and a new bank card that my son had directed to my house when his old one was stolen while he was in Spain.
“In June I wrote to both Royal Mail HQ and the Hallgate sorting offices to complain.
“Ironically the latter sent me my letter back - to the right address for once - and the other received a reply saying there wasn’t much they could do.
“And so post has still been going to Diggle Street; it’s not fair on the chap there for him to keep coming round. That said, it would have been nice if some of his predecessors had brought my mail round periodically! It’s not far!
“I don’t know why it keeps happening though. It’s not like we’ve the same surnames.”
Royal Mail spokesman Henry Perry said: “We apologise to Mr Dakin that he has not received the consistent quality of service that we aim to deliver to all our customers. We will be putting daily checks in place to ensure that we are delivering all mail correctly to Mr Dakin and other residents of the Gidlow area.
“We would advise anyone who has any queries about their mail deliveries to contact us on 03457 740 740.”