It’s a huge festive operation, with around 2,000 little helpers working round the clock to ensure no-one is disappointed on Christmas Day.
But I’m not talking about Santa’s winter wonderland – this is Leeds Mail Centre in Stourton, where staff yesterday handled more than 3.5million parcels and letters on Royal Mail’s busiest day of the year.
The firm has taken on a staggering 22,000 extra seasonal workers across the UK – 450 here in Leeds – to help with the massive demands of the festive rush.
And their specially-created Christmas parcel-sorting centre in Wakefield is a similar hive of activity, with a further 400 extra staff diligently dealing with mountains of post daily.
They are supporting the firm’s 124,000 permanent postmen and women to deliver a first-class Christmas for all their customers.
And the YEP went behind the scenes at the Leeds base yesterday to watch hundreds of them in action on their busiest day, ahead of the recommended last posting date of December 20.
A couple of Christmas trees glitter among the sea of red, and a few Santa hats could be spotted bobbing between the huge crates, crammed to capacity with boxes destined for everywhere from Swinnow to Seattle.
Last night their efforts rivalled those of Santa’s elves on Christmas Eve as 500 workers scurried around the 25,733sqm building, doing all they could to ensure those eagerly-anticipated gifts make it under the Christmas tree in time.
James Jack, plant manager, said: “The success criteria for us is that there is no mail left on Christmas Eve – it’s all with our customers.”
The scale of the operation means planning begins back in June and July, with everyone focused on the task of delivering a great Christmas.
Among the many characters helping the operation succeed is Israr Ahmed, parcel manager, who is bursting with energy and keeps his hard-working team’s morale levels high with “Isy’s huddle” each morning.
Mr Jack said: “He never stops. At times like this you need that energy.”