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Lorraine, Trish and Richard Lettley have delivered 4,000 letters in two weeks
Customers drop off mail at family newsagents in Wellington, Somerset, and have it delivered next day for 30p if within 2.5miles. First class stamp is 60p
For an extra 10p, Lettleys pick up parcels direct from customers' homes
A family has unveiled their own postal service to rival the Royal Mail with next day delivery that is half the price of a first-class stamp.
Newsagent owner Lorraine Lettley, 62, and daughter Trish, 37, set up the Welly Post this month after customers complained about the rising cost of sending letters.
Just two weeks later, they have already delivered 4,000 letters and parcels, with an average rate of 250 packages a day.
It was in response to complaints about the rising price of post, with first-class stamps at 60p
Realising anyone is legally permitted to set up their own service, the Lettleys decided to run a cut-price delivery
Shoppers drop off post at the family shop, E J Teare Newsagents in Wellington, Somerset, where the Lettleys guarantee next day delivery within two-and-a-half miles for just 30p.
And for 10p extra, the family collects letters from customers’ homes - crushing the 60p price tag for a first class stamp.
Mrs Lettley's husband Richard, 66, delivers to half the town on his bike, cycling for up to two hours a day to ensure cards arrive on time.
Meanwhile, Trish drives to outlying villages, and her mother covers the centre of town when she isn't manning the shop.
Mrs Lettley said: 'My daughter thought up the idea because we thought we do deliveries from the shop already - why not offer even more of a service to our customers.
'We had heard people mentioning about the cost of the Royal Mail and we felt it was something that we could possibly help out with.
'My husband recently retired and we were looking for something to keep him busy on his bike so this seemed perfect.
The family started the service as a way to generate more income, but it has also united the community
'We are thrilled by how it has taken off. People are really grateful for the extra help - and love that it costs less.
Legally, any business can incorporate mail delivery into their work.
The Lettleys are believed to be the first family to set up their own delivery service since the privatisation, but they predict they will not be the only ones.
'People are so enthusiastic and it is bringing people out of their shells a bit too as it has become a bit of a talking point.
'The reaction has been nothing but positive and we are finding that people are really eager to be loyal to a local independent business.'
Mrs Lettley, who worked in the shop for 18 years before taking it over seven years ago, said she plans to run the service all year round - and even offers business rates.
The service is currently turning over more than £75 per day.
The profits are enough to print promotional flyers - with money left over.
She added: 'We did it partly to get footfall in the shop but also to offer a service for customers.
'Times are hard for everyone and it is going reasonably well financially for us too - we covered our start-up costs in a matter of days.'
Mother-of-four Julie Watkin, 55, used the service to deliver 12 Christmas cards last week.
She said: 'It is really great. You know that it is going to get there - and you know who is going to deliver it - and you can’t beat the price.
'It feels good to support the local community and be part of something too.'
Despite raking in profits and customers, Mrs Lettley insists Post Office workers are accepting of their new venture, and don't mind the extra help.
She said: 'They’ve still been coming in and buying their cigarettes and things so I think we are ok.
'I don’t think we are going to be running the Royal Mail out of business anytime soon.'