‘Telegram boys’ are reunited at city depot

ks180258-6 Chi Telegram Boys  phot kate Dennis Legge, Roger Jasper and Niel Horton outside Sorting Office.ks180258-6 SUS-180206-223931008
ks180258-6 Chi Telegram Boys phot kate Dennis Legge, Roger Jasper and Niel Horton outside Sorting Office.ks180258-6 SUS-180206-223931008

The quickest way to get the news in the 1960s was via telegram, delivered to the door by post office bike.

Reunited by chance years after they served as telegram boys, three ex-messengers returned to Chichester delivery office earlier this month to ride again around the district they worked in as teenagers.

The trio were part of a whole host of post office employees, delivering notes to Selsey, Goodwood and Chichester Court all on their signature Bantam bikes.

Dennis Legge, 67, said: “It’s almost certainly unique in the country to have three people from a fairly small office back together all on bikes, uniformed up – because who on earth would keep a 1960s postman’s outfit,

“It’s difficult to get hold of, let alone the bikes.

“When we ride together around West Sussex and the Chichester area it’s terrific.

“I can personally say that two minutes in the saddle and I’m whistling, singing to myself, I’m 16 years old again.”

Dennis, who now lives in Somerset, said he was at a motorcyle show a few years ago, when he struck up a conversation with an enthusiast, who said he had seen a similar outfit and bike at Goodwood Revival.

He then tracked down Roger Jasper, who had remained working at Chichester post office for 50 years, who knew Nigel Horton, now 69.

Nigel’s favourite story of his telegram days is the time he delivered a telegram to Mick Jagger, who was being held at Chichester courthouse after the Rolling Stones drugs bust.

“I went to the courthouse and there was a policeman standing there and I said, ‘I have a message for Mr Jagger’,” he said.

“He said you give it to me and I said, can I take it to him and see if there’s an answer.”

Nigel did indeed get to deliver his message to the cell door, though there was no reply to take.

Telegrams needed to be delivered to the great and the good in the early days of Chichester Festival Theatre and to Goodwood House.

The downsides of the job involved riding out in all weathers – Dennis vividly remembers a snow storm in Selsey – but the perk of having a bike and looking the bees knees was all the kudos their 15 and 16-year-old selves needed.

Now the group is hoping to attend Goodwood Revival together and keep the history alive. Nigel said: “Guys come up and say ‘I used to ride one of those’.”