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Red letter day for village post office.

Byline: By Hayley Beattie

A cloud of doubt over the future of a rural post office has been lifted with the announcement that it will remain open.

Stamfordham Post Office has been offered a reprieve by the new owners of the Bay Horse pub, where it is located, Julie and Martin Holmes.

The couple, who arrived at the pub this week, have agreed to keep the post office open three times a week.

For the last two years, villagers have been able to buy a stamp whilst supping a pint and Mrs Holmes said that, since getting to the village, she understood how important the service was.

She said: "When we took over, we hadn't really thought about keeping the post office going, but a lot of the locals have been telling us how much they rely on it, so we decided to take it on."

Residents, who feared it would close as a result of the pub takeover, were delighted by the news.

Chairman of Stamfordham Parish Council Edward Trevelyan said: "This is excellent news, especially as Matfen Post Office is closing.

"It is a very important service for the area, in particular for elderly residents."

However, those living in nearby Matfen, still reeling from the announcement last week that their post office was to be turned into a delicatessen, did not share the enthusiasm. The post office closed two weeks ago after mail bosses were able to find someone to take it over.

Chairman of the parish council Robin Douglas said that, whilst it was great news for Stamfordham, he did not think it would benefit those living in Matfen.

He said: "I don't think people would choose to go to Stamfordham to use the post office, I think they would prefer to go to Corbridge or Ponteland. These post offices in pubs and other places just aren't the same.

"What the people in Matfen want is a proper post office and there are a lot of people who are very upset about its demise." There has been speculation that a mobile post office would visit the village instead, however Mr Douglas said this was no substitute for someone behind a counter.

The post office in Stamfordham will remain closed to allow Mr and Mrs Holmes time to attend a post office management course.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Aug 27, 2005
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