Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: UK: Wales
Front Page 
World 
UK 
Northern Ireland 
Scotland 
Wales 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Sport 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 
Sunday, 19 December, 1999, 14:46 GMT
Bethlehem's 'franking-sense'

Bethlehem Bethlehem is deluged with cards for franking every year


A former post office in Bethlehem, west Wales, which each Christmas franks thousands of letters with its biblical name is busier than it has been for a decade.

People from across the world send cards and letters to Bethlehem in Carmarthenshire to be stamped at the post house.



I would say I have more mail this year than any year in the past 10 years
Post house owner Gwilym Richards
Anyone who owns the building retains the right to frank mail with the village's name.

With the new millennium approaching, post house owner Gwilym Richards said he had more mail than ever to frank this year.

He revealed this year will be his last doing the job he loves. He and his wife Hazel, who have run the business for 15 years, are retiring.

Each year, Mr Richards not only receives sackloads of letters to frank, but also about 5,000 visitors wanting to post mail in the village for themselves.

He said: "I would say I have more mail this year than any year in the past 10 years. I've got boxes piled up."

President of China

To celebrate this special year, Mr Richards is franking mail with a stamp which shows the last day of this millennium and the first day of the next.

The house - and the right to frank mail - have just gone on the market for 125,000.

The most unusual piece of mail Mr Richards has ever franked was handed to him a few years ago by a US diplomat based in Britain.

"He wrote a Christmas card in Latin and I had to send it to the president of China in Beijing," said Mr Richards.

The same man sent Christmas greetings to the then German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

This year also sees the end of the village's primary school.

The six pupils are being transferred to a larger school nearby in the New Year.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE

See also:
17 Dec 99 |  Wales
No festive cheer in Bethlehem

Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites
Links to other Wales stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Wales stories