Royal Mail lets down hospice fundraisers

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Anyone who missed making dedications for this year’s Light Up A Life Remembrance Book can still have their loved ones added.

Friends of Oban Hospice were greatly let down and disappointed by Royal Mail this year after dedication form leaflets failed to make it through everyone’s letterboxes in time – despite the charity, with support from the town’s Rotary Club, paying £800 for the delivery service.

Every year Friends of Oban Hospice send out the leaflets via the post in time for a light-up ceremony of a tree outside the Corran Halls. The names of loved ones missed, especially at this poignant time of year, along with special dedications are recorded in a special book.

Now in its 16th year, Light Up A Life  is one of the hospice’s biggest fundraisers on the calendar and was needed as a boost more than ever in 2021 to fill the gaping financial hole left by Covid.

An official complaint to Royal Mail is being made but the complaints procedure requires Oban Hospice providing all the the addresses and postcodes that have been missed.

After being contacted by The Oban Times, a Royal Mail spokesperson said: ‘The vast majority of mail is delivered safely and on time. We aim to deliver to all addresses we have mail for, six days a week. In the Oban area, we have been experiencing some delays to service due to resourcing issues and high levels of sickness absence. We are working hard to get our levels of service back to normal as soon as possible. We would like to apologise to this customer if they did not receive the high quality service our customers expect and deserve. We will be getting in touch with them directly to discuss the matter further.’

Speaking before Tuesday evening’s event, Anne May from the Friends of Oban Hospice said: ‘It’s a great disappointment we have been let down by Royal Mail after paying £800 to get the dedication leaflets delivered. It’s one of our biggest fundraisers of the year. I feel we have let people down. The reactions of people when they see the book and their loved ones in it, is very emotional. It is special to so many people, it means so much.

‘I have not had my form through the post and know of lots of others who have said the same. We have regular entries with dedications every year and I’m very much aware many of these are missing. One woman stopped me in the street to ask when Light Up A Life was happening. We have done everything possible to let people know.

‘I’ve complained twice [to Royal Mail] so far but the complaints procedure requires from me every address and postcode that has been missed. They make it very difficult.’

Representatives from the hospice were in Tesco earlier this week handing out dedication forms to shoppers in a bid to reach some of those who have not had them in the post.

Even though the book was printed, ready for this week’s ceremony – it will be updated with late dedications, said Mrs May.

‘Anyone who has had not received their leaflet in the post can get in touch with us and we will update the book. We know it means so much to people.

‘People can pick up the forms from The Dove Centre in Stevenson Street or I will personally go and hand-deliver the leaflets to anyone who cannot make it themselves, some people are quite elderly,’ she added.

The Dove Centre can be contacted on 01631  561315.