A RETIRED postie has clocked up thousands of miles travelling the length and breadth of Britain photographing post boxes.

Peter Willis, aged 67, has set himself the challenge of snapping as many pillar boxes dotted around the UK and Ireland during his retirement.

He has documented a staggering 2,500 boxes since he embarked on his epic challenge five years ago.

Mr Willis, of Ombersley Road, Worcester, who worked as a Royal Mail manager for 13 years before he retired in 2007, says he plans to spend the rest of his life documenting as many of the 115,000 post boxes in Britain as possible.

The father-of-two said: “It started out as a bit of a hobby but has developed into a bit of an obsession.

“There is something wonderful about discovering a post box which is in a strange location or is particularly old but still used by people to communicate with each other.

“Royal Mail grid references every post box and I use this when I travel to a city or part of the country and when I’ve taken a picture of the box, I strike it off the list.

“I’m not sure I’ll get round all 115,000. I’ve done about 2,500 boxes but I’m always looking out for the next one.”

Mr Willis travels with his wife Dianne, 64, and the couple even live near one of the rarest post boxes in the country.

He said: “Only 160 post boxes in Britain bear the insignia of King Edward VIII. They were made in the 1930s but he abdicated after a fairly short reign so there was no need for any more.

“The one near me is quite special, it’s the only one we have in the whole of Worcestershire and the only other one I’ve seen on my travels was in Dunfermline in Scotland.”

When he finds a new post box, Mr Willis photographs the base to record the manufacturer’s name and logs a grid reference on a map.

He is a member of the Letter Box Study Group – an organisation dedicated to cataloguing the UK’s post boxes. Members of the group contribute to its database by submitting grid references and pictures of boxes around the British Isles.