ECHO newspaper boy James Pleavin is today making the news – not just delivering it.
The 15-year-old has scooped a top national award for going above and beyond his newspaper round.
Monkwearmouth School pupil James, who works for Fulwell News in Sunderland, was named as the winner of the Carl Bridgewater News Deliverer Merit Award at a recent awards bash, organised by the National Federation of Retail Newsagents (NFRN).
James was nominated by his employer John Moore for his caring approach towards his home delivery customers.
This was particularly demonstrated when James was out on his rounds one day and noticed that there were unread newspapers lying in the porch of one of the houses he delivered to.
The teenager became further concerned when he noticed a light was on in the sitting room on such a bright day and that the house owner’s car was still on the driveway.
Immediately, he called his employer and asked him to ring the police. After doing so, Mr Moore was told that the customer had been rushed to hospital.
James’ concern did not end there, however, and during the next few weeks, he continued to ask about the welfare of this customer, who died later in hospital.
As well as commending James for his quick thinking, Mr Moore said: “In the three years he has worked for me, he has proved to be punctual and reliable, while his cheerful disposition has often been the subject of favourable comments from his customers.”
Unfortunately, James was unable to make the trip to London to receive his award in person, so Paul Foreman, newspaper sales manager of the Sunderland Echo, went along to the shop to present the teenager with his trophy.
James also received a £50 cheque from the NFRN’s Sunderland branch.
Now into their 10th year, the NFRN Awards recognise excellence in news and convenience retailing, rewarding those who have made an outstanding contribution to the sector.
Paul Foreman said: “It was great to meet James and hand over the trophy.
“He showed great care and compassion for his customers and deserves his recognition.”