Published: 06:00, 16 May 2021
An artist has painted a portrait of her postie who continued to deliver mail during the coronavirus lockdown.
Julie Bradshaw-Drury of Warden Bay, Sheppey, said: "Nicky Maisey is our lovely post-lady who worked so very hard throughout the lockdowns.
"I painted her portrait as a thank-you for all her hard work. She has made so many of us in the village smile when she came to the door with parcels and letters even though she looked so tired. She made the craziness that was happening in the country seem a little more normal.
"She had to work very long hours but never once moaned or complained and was always cheerful and smiling. It was a real gift and made such a difference to me while I was shielding. I'm truly grateful to her."
Bubbly Nicky, 50, who lives near Julie, said: "It was a lovely gesture. I have the portrait hanging in my bedroom. Julie stopped me one day out of the blue while I was on my round and asked if she could take my photograph for a picture."
The mum-of-one, who has been with Royal Mail for 11 years, admitted: "Work has been quite stressful. I have been going in at 3am to sort the packages and then finish my round at 3pm. We normally have about 45 yorks (big metal cages) to sort at Sheerness each morning but at one stage we were so busy we had 107.
"Maidstone sorting office virtually closed down because it was hit so hard by Covid. I don't think we had any staff catch it. We were lucky but we had to stop two people sharing a van because of the restrictions. Some have been cycling to work and one walks from Halfway to Sheerness every day to ensure the mail gets through and people aren't let down."
The former retained firefighter, who walks 10 miles a day on her round, added: "Times have been hard and the snow didn't help either. But I've got to know my customers and have a chat on their doorsteps. It's very rewarding. I love meeting people."
Julie, a 64-year-old grandmother who lives in Emerald View, also painted a portrait of friend Carol Kimber who works as a housekeeper at Maidstone care home East Field. She said: "Carol kept smiling through the lockdowns trying to keep people cheerful in a very difficult time."
Both portraits went on show at the Nucleus Arts Centre, Chatham, before Christmas before being presented to the two women. Julie added: "I wanted to give them something they could keep as a reminder of their courage."