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Christmas card rush - Behind the scenes at Royal Mail in Reading!

The 15th of December is the busiest day of the year for our posties. Hundreds of thousands of cards, letters and parcels are collected sorted and delivered as our love affair with Christmas cards continues.

At this time of year extra staff have been drafted in by the Royal Mail to cope with the bumper post bags. Our reporter Penny Silvester got up very early this morning to join staff at Reading's sorting office in Berkshire - to give us an insight into the operation there.

The interviewees are: Matthew Taylor, a postman; Clare Brown, a postwoman; and Graeme Tyers, a Royal Mail manager.

'Busiest day of the year' for Royal Mail

Today is set to be the busiest day of the year for Royal Mail Credit: ITV Meridian

Today is expected to be the busiest day of the year for the Royal Mail.

Hundreds of letters will be sorted every hour at centres including Reading.

Around 120,000 postmen and women as well as 19,000 temporary staff will be working to deliver first class in time for Christmas.

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Decrease of Sussex posties being bitten by dogs

Royal Mail are urging dog owners to keep their dogs under control Credit: PA

More than 40 postmen and women in Sussex have been attacked by dogs in the last year.

Nationally, the number of incidents has risen by 8%. But in Sussex, there's actually been a decrease of 17% in the number of posties being bitten.

Royal Mail is urging all dog owners to keep their pets under control.

Jane Austen's first class delivery

One of the set of Royal Mail's Special Stamps featuring all six published Jane Austen novels Credit: Press Association Images

A special set of stamps have gone on sale featuring Jane Austen novels to mark the 200th anniversary of Pride & Prejudice. The Royal Mail also said that letters posted in Chawton in Hampshire, where Austen lived, and Steventon, where she was born, will have a special postmark for a week.

Andrew Hammond from Royal Mail said: "When you think of great British authors, Jane Austen inevitably comes to mind. Her novels have contributed immeasurably to British culture over the last two centuries.

"New generations continue to fall in love with her work through television and film adaptations, as well as, of course, the books themselves."

The stamps celebrate the 200th anniversary of Pride and Prejudice and go on sale from today. Credit: Press Association Images

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New mail centre - first pictures

Inside the new Rochester mail centre Credit: David Johns

Royal Mail's new flagship postal centre is opening in Rochester today. The £70 million plant will process all mail posted to and from Kent - replacing four existing mail centre sites in Dartford, Canterbury, Tonbridge and Maidstone.

Inside the new Rochester mail centre Credit: David Johns

Mystery letter posted without a name or address

It was a challenge - perhaps too puzzling for a postman to solve. A mystery letter in the mail, intended for a seaside furniture shop, but with no name or address.

Yes, the cryptic letter was addressed...

"The Shop that sells Beautiful Sequin and Laced Umbrellas and Tulip Shaped Lampshades... on the bend of a road near seating and flowers".

So did the letter reach its destination? Or was it returned to sender? Tom Savvides has been finding out.

Sophie's success celebrated with golden stamp

Sophie Christiansen's golden stamp Credit: Royal Mail

Maidenhead rider Sophie Christiansen can expect a warm welcome when she returns home from the Paralympics.

Royal Mail has unveiled a special gold stamp for the rider after she won gold in the individual dressage Grade 1a event.

The company will paint one of their post boxes in Maidenhead gold in her honor although they have not yet revealed which one it will be.

The 24-year-olds performance also helped to secure the team gold for Paralympics GB.

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