Coraki postie leaves her stamp

When she's delivering the mail in her beloved Coraki over the next few months Norma Thomas will have to get used to looking at a familiar face staring back at her from envelopes: her own.

Norma was selected as one of 10 postal employees from around Australia to be pictured on a stamp as part of the 200-year celebrations for Australia Post.

Norma's co-workers threw a small morning tea for her on Tuesday outside the Coraki Post Office to celebrate the release of the stamp.

“I'm pretty proud and honoured,” Norma said. “It reflects on Coraki and brings an honour to the town. It's a little place but this just shows we're as important as anywhere else.”

Norma has been delivering Coraki's mail for 27 years and was on Richmond Valley Council for 17 years. She is the first female President at the Coraki Lions Club, is a life member of the Far North Coast Women's Hockey Association and the Coraki Hockey Club.

Norma has received an Order of Australia, a Community Hero award, an Australia Post Community Champion award and most recently was awarded the prestigious Australia Post Bicentenary Medal in recognition of outstanding workplace and community service.

Nicole McPherson, who works with Norma, said no-one could be more deserving of the honour.

“She does so much for the community, all the years she was on Council, she's on every fund-raising group in town, she never says no to anyone who asks for her help,” Nicole said. “When she was on Council and sorting the mail out the back, if anyone came in with a question she'd always go to the counter and take the time to listen.

“Sometimes it takes her longer to do her mail run because she takes the time to listen to everyone and then gets on the phone to sort it out.

“She's the only person I know on a stamp!”

Norma said the thing she most likes about delivering the mail is “getting out and about”.

“You meet people and I do feel it's a service for the community,” Norma said. “People ask me when I'm going to retire and I tell them 'when I drop dead.'”

For the photo for the stamp the photographer traipsed all over Coraki, taking shots everywhere, including in the middle of the main street, Richmond Terrace.

“Traffic was banked up on both sides, it was pretty funny,” Norma said. “I've lived here for 53 years and I really think a town's only as good as the people who live in it.

“I believe if you live in a town, you should put something back into it.”

However, you can't buy the stamps in Coraki. When The Echo asked why not, the post office manager said she would not comment.

You can get the stamps at other post offices in the area, including Woodburn.

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