In 2020, artist Chloe Cooper was due to visit Sheppey to find out more about the Island and what it’s like to live there as part of the Pull Up A Chair artist’s residencies with Quiet Down There .
Of course, we all know what happened next – but pandemics and lockdowns haven’t kept Chloe from connecting with people on Sheppey.
Chloe created the Creative Letter Exchange to hear the everyday experience of what it’s like to live on Sheppey and to share what it’s like where she lives in Thamesmead, through letters.
With our help, Chloe has met lots of the amazing people who make up Sheppey’s community – including Grahame, a postman.
This is a edited part of Chloe’s blog about her conversation with Grahame.
A CONVERSATION WITH GRAHAM THE POSTMAN
Graham has 800 homes on his round and it sounds like he’s managed to carve out meaningful relationships with people living in most of them! It’s clear why – he really cares about his community and the individuals he gets to meet as part of his job. He takes the fact that he could be the only person someone gets to talk to that day seriously. As he says himself, being a postman is NOT just “shoving a letter through a door”.
When I spoke to Graham he was training for a series of charity runs on 10th-14th May to raise money for the hospitals that looked after his family members who died from cancer.
[Editors Note: You can still donate to Grahame’s JustGiving page – so far he’s raised over £2000]
As well as being a postman and a fundraiser, Graham’s an artist! He worked with Sheppey Matters to paint murals in Queenborough.
It was an absolute pleasure to speak with Graham. I can’t wait to read his forthcoming book, (which currently has at least two totally pun-tastic working titles!) full of stories from the hilarious to the heartbreaking.
Chloe would like to thank Jean and the Sheppey Gossip Board Facebook group for their help.
You can read the unedited post at the Creative Letter Exchange blog.
Write to Chloe’s Creative Letter Exchange at:
Chloe Cooper c/o Bow Arts Trust,
London, SE2 9AN