It’s always a hard hit to the community when we lose someone many of us hold close to our hearts.
This was the case when Launceston area postman Phil Newman died earlier this year. Many residents in the local area were saddened by the news and as a result his funeral was packed to the rafters with family, colleagues, friends and residents who received their post for so many years from him.
Royal Mail colleague and good friend Alastair Roberts was one of those affected by the sudden passing of Phil, and wanted to pay tribute to the popular postie in the best way he knew - dedicating one of his weekly radio shows to him!
A former record and CD dealer, Al has always had a huge interest in radio and music. He moved back to Launceston in 2005 and became a postman, and that’s when his interest in doing his own radio show with Radio St Austell Bay began.
Al eventually started his show, ‘Tunes from the Man Cave’, and has been doing it from his home ever since, uploading his programmes to a USB and then to a DropBox for Radio St Austell Bay to use. Tunes from the Man Cave showcases a wide range of musical genres, from jazz, blues and Reggae, all the way to soul, folk, rock n’ roll and Americana.
Since 2015, Al has done 350 programmes which has included his ‘Mish-Mash programme’, playing his favourite tracks all the way from the 1950s to now; a theme night which is driven by a subject matter and features some quirky tracks; as well as his sessions programme, with a focus on different musicians and their work.
Having collected music for most of his life, and attending his first gig at the age of 12, Al has a true passion for music and the industry - and it only seemed fitting to dedicate a programme to his good friend Phil, paying tribute to a much-loved postman and member of the community.
Talking about his tribute show, Al told Launceston Life: “Phil Newman was an established postman who was passionate about music. He was pretty legendary across the town, and much known and loved up at Pennygillam (where the Launceston Royal Mail delivery office is based).
“The tribute on the show was just me telling stories about me and Phil and all the funny things he did. One thing I particularly loved about him was his wonderful skill in singing out of tune.
“Phil lived locally. It was pretty tricky for all of us at work when we found out. I’m the town 1 postman and I had so many people come up to me and tell me their own stories about Phil which was really lovely.”
He added: “One of my passions is Reggae and Ska music and a few of us came together for gigs and called ourselves the ‘Lanson Rude Boys’ - Phil included. We even had some shirts made up for it.”
Phil became a postman in the late 1990s and covered lots of different areas in the Launceston patch over the years, meaning he picked up lots of friends along the way. The number of people at his funeral, and those who have paid tribute to Phil online, shows just how important he was to the community - and how deeply he will be missed.
You can listen to Tunes from the Man Cave on a Wednesday night at 8.30pm, go to https://www.rsab.org/ or you can listen at any other time of the week by going to http://listen.rsab.org/. Listen to the Phil Newman tribute by going to https://www.mixcloud.com/ajf-roberts/