Postmaster’s concerns community will be left without post office
PUBLISHED: 06:30 23 September 2020 | UPDATED: 13:15 23 September 2020
A Norwich postmaster says he is desperate not to leave his community without a thriving post office as he prepares to retire after 48 years.
Paul Wallace began working with his uncle Donny Strivens, who ran the post office in Lovelace Road when the estate opened after the Second World War.
The family have been renting it from the Co-op for seven decades and moved into the purpose built post office on Earlham Green Lane 16 years ago.
For the last 18 months Mr Wallace has been speaking to the business to see if it can take the post office on, ensuring the community can still access the service.
After being told no, the 63-year-old has listed it for sale on Humberstones to try and find a buyer before next year.
Mr Wallace said: “It’s a long time to serve the community. I have been doing upmost to ensure this post office remains. It’s bittersweet for me, I’m looking forward to retiring but I do not want to leave the people in the community without a post office.”
He said the business had been “busier than Christmas” during the pandemic.
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The 63-year-old and his wife Sharon, who has worked in the NHS for 40 years, will be retiring together to spend more time with their three grandchildren, Oscar, Arthur and Ruby and “spoil them rotten”.
Post office employee Mike Coe will also retire alongside Mr Wallace on January 27, 2021.
Norwich-born Mr Wallace said: “It is time to call it a day, it’s a shame the Co-op do not do the easy thing and take it on. They are happy for someone else to run it if I sell it to someone.
“A lot of people come in here just for a chat. You are lucky to come in and come straight to the counter. We do our best which is a sign of how busy we are.”
A campaign has been started by West Earlham resident Jasmine Reeves, urging the Co-op to reconsider its decision. It has achieved more than 270 signatures.
She said: “It is a real hub of the community. Paul is a pillar of the community, he is 100pc one of those people. He does not want to leave the community without a post office.
“People could get a bus down to Dereham Road, but lots of families cannot afford the bus to go to the post office, every penny counts.”
The East of England Co-op has been approached for comment.
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