A MAN who has grown up reading the Oxford Mail decided to become a paper boy when he left his job three years ago.

Maurice Belcher, 71, from Abingdon, started the job after leaving TNT because he wanted to spend more time with his family.

He said: “It gives me more time to do other things during the day and help my wife with looking after my mother-in-law.”

Mr Belcher said he sets his alarm at 6.16am every morning to work and manages to complete his paper round in Abingdon by 8.30am.

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He is currently doing cover for school children as well who are away during the summer holidays.

The paperboy said doing the paper round is also a good way to keep fit.

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He added: “I use the car but also walk too. It’s good because it keeps me up and about and awake."

Mr Belcher moved to Abingdon in 1976 after living in Stanford-in-the-Vale.

He has a 43-year-old daughter and a 46-year-old son who is featured on the front page of a newspaper that he has from 1974.

The paper, dated Monday, June 10, has a picture in black and white of his two nephews, Stewart and Christian and son, Matthew.

The story alongside tells of how the boys were all born a month after each other - Stewart in November 1973, Matthew in December 1973 and Christian in January 1974.

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Their church reverend, Dennis Ruddy, had the 'unusual task' of doing a ‘triple christening’.

Mr Belcher’s family were members of St Mary’s Church in Longworth and would sing in the choir.

The joke was that the 'bouncing babies' were doing their own kind of singing on their big day.

It reads: “He [Rev Ruddy] kept smiling when the pictures were taken even though the youngsters yelled for their mums.”

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Mr Belcher said: "We have so many copies of the Oxford Mail but a lot of them have been weathered. We've kept this one in fine form though as it has my son and nephew on the front. It has no tears or rips."

The front page story on the paper, which was priced at two and a half pence, was about a man called W.B.H Churchill and a seven-year-old boy called Jonathan McMullen, who drowned in a river tragedy near Dorchester.

It says: 'They drowned after the man dived into the Thames in a bid to rescue the boy, who had fallen from the back of a cabin cruiser.

'The party on the cruiser, including Mr Churchill's wife, watched helplessly as they disappeared from view.'

Other stories on the front page include Oxfordshire County Council planning committee being recommended to approve Pear Tree park and ride.

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The plan was opposed by Merton College which owns part of the land.

It said the car park would destroy the rural setting around the Excelsior Motor Lodge.

News that the Queen's uncle died during the night at his home in Northamptonshire, broke out on the day.

Prime Minister at the time, Harold Wilson, paid tribute, saying: "He will be long remembered for his great service to the nation."

The Queen had ordered court mourning until Friday.

As well as stories, the paper features advertisements such as Bristol Street Motors and Hartwells of Abingdon car rentals as well as H.L Textiles, a curtains specialist on Windmill Road, Headington which was open late on Fridays till 6.30pm.