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Furloughed mum who took over injured son’s paper round now loves it and wants her own

A mum on furlough who stepped in for her son when he was unable to do his paper round after injuring his knee had so much fun she wants to find one of her own.

Alice Strang said she loved delivering newspapers around an iconic neighbourhood in Edinburgh where novelist Muriel Spark lived, and is hunting for another.

The 47-year-old started at the end of December when her eldest son, Robert, 14, was injured while sledging.

The mum-of-two sets her alarm for 5.30am, starts at 7.15am and finishes around 9.30am.

Each morning she pauses to watch the sunrise over Edinburgh Castle.

She said she usually goes to the gym before work but the paper round has been just as good – and has been an opportunity to meet new people.

Alice said: “It’s a really great community thing, I normally go to the gym before work but they are closed.

“I couldn’t recommend it enough.

“My wages are going to a homeless shelter, I wouldn’t want it to seem like I am taking money from a teenager.”

She dresses up for the cold weather and found the morning routine has helped her to cope with the pressures of lockdown.

And she was touched to see how many elderly people depend on their newspaper delivery and were asking after her son.

Alice said: “As I did the round more I realised what a great way it is to cope with lockdown.

“It gets me up in the morning with a purpose and has just been a fabulous way to start the day.

“The first hour is in the dark but I get to see the sun rising over Edinburgh Castle, how beautiful is that.

“I realised that for some of the people I deliver too I am the only human contact they have.

“Some are very elderly and don’t want to go out in the damp and cold, so it’s important to deliver the news and keep them informed and know what’s going on.

“We usually have a wee chat and they always ask when Robert is coming back which is lovely to hear.”

Alice, who works part-time for the National Gallery of Scotland, turned up at Gillespie’s Newsagents in Bruntsfield for her first day on December 27.

She leaves notes for homeschooling and trusts her kids to get on with it at home in Merchiston.

Alice added: “I get a few double takes when I am out from people surprised to see someone my age with a newspaper bag.”

Alice’s husband Gavin, 49, who works for an auction company, had a paper round when he was young so compares tips with Robert for how best to fold a paper and whether it should be pushed all the way through a door.

Robert’s round takes less time as he cycles allowing him to be at school for 8.40am ordinarily, and started the job in the first lockdown to save up enough to build a PC.

His younger brother, Thomas, 12, would also like a paper round.

Alice has phoned other newsagents in the hope of getting a job for herself but fears it is a good job which is hard to come by.

She said getting a paper delivered was a cheap pleasure which more people should consider, and was moved to tears when a customer gave her a generous donation for the homeless shelter.

Alice said: “I have really enjoyed getting to know the customers, I have run little errands for people.

“You can lose that sense of community in a big city, and I think it’s a great opportunity for the kids – it is about getting up and doing it properly.

“One of the customers said they started getting a newspaper delivered in the lockdown, it is a real luxury getting your paper delivered and reading it over breakfast, finding out what is going on in the world.

She said it had brought her and Robert closer together and added: “It has given us something in common to talk about.”

Robert said: “It’s going to be good to be getting back to my job.

“It would be quite unusual I think to have a two-generation paper round.

“I know my mum is quite a sociable person but she’s really taken to it.”

The kind-hearted mum has donated her wages from the paper round to the Bethany Christian Trust to help fund the charity’s homeless shelter.

Chief Executive at Bethany Christian Trust, Alasdair Bennett said: “We are so heartened by the commitment Alice is showing in not only giving of her time to support people at the Rapid Re-accommodation Welcome Centre, but also contributing funds in this way to support this life saving work.”