Tributes paid to Britain’s oldest paperboy

Colin Peaker enjoyed his Wakefield paper round.
Colin Peaker enjoyed his Wakefield paper round.

A much-loved member of his community and former city councillor has died, aged 87.

Colin Peaker, who lived his whole life in the city, worked as a barber for almost half a century and dedicated his spare time to fostering good relations between Wakefield and its German twin city in the post-war era.

In retirement, he became known as Britain’s oldest paperboy, delivering newspapers for Preens Newsagents, on Savile Street, for 25 years.

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He was still rising at 4am each morning to set off on his rounds until his retirement a few weeks ago.

Friend Norman Hazell, who first met Colin in 1941, said: “He was a lovely man and very well known around Wakefield.

“Many people will know he used to wear a raincoat all the time when he was out and about, even during the summer.

“He would do anything for anybody and he was very kind-hearted.”

Colin started work as a barber after leaving school and ran a shop for 46 years. He later told how he still charged just 50p for a haircut before he retired in 1993.

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He also served on the old city council between 1964 and 1974, representing the Northgate ward. He departed when the local authority’s makeup changed and it became Wakefield Metropolitan Borough Council.

He was well known for running a student exchange programme with Wakefield’s twin city of Castrop-Rauxel, which he visited himself around 50 times.

But it was on his early morning rounds delivering papers which made Colin a very familiar face to households in Wakefield.

Speaking after his 85th birthday in 2016, Colin said: “I said I was just going to do the job for a month and see if I liked it. Now it’s 23 years later.

“It’s good exercise and you see a lot of people and find out what’s going on. That’s the main thing. And it keeps my knees going.”

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James Baker, who ran Preens for seven years until this summer, said: “Colin was just a really great bloke. He loved talking to people around Wakefield and he was always smiling. It’s very sad news.

“He knew so much about the history of Wakefield and he had so many stories to tell. You could spend hours talking to him.

“I think he was very proud of the fact he was Britain’s oldest paperboy. It was really good exercise for him.”