Five days left to save post office

PUBLISHED: 13:20 24 June 2008 | UPDATED: 21:58 15 June 2010

PLACARDS and comfy shoes were at the ready when around 100 villagers from Offwell marched through country lanes and then down the A35 into Honiton.

PLACARDS and comfy shoes were at the ready when around 100 villagers from Offwell marched through country lanes and then down the A35 into Honiton.The spectacle, played out before television cameras last Wednesday, was the penultimate protest over plans to close Offwell Post Office.An action group, set up to fight the Post Office Limited proposal, has just one week left to make a difference.It is pitting its wits against 44 other post offices across Devon, which also face closure. For every post office saved, another will face the axe.As heavy clouds loomed over Offwell, determined campaigners turned out with brollies and walking sticks to make the three-mile trek to the nearest alternative post office, in Honiton High Street.The Reverend Brian Green, chairman of Offwell Rural Services Association, said: "I think it's really brilliant how people have turned out. We had a rainy spell this morning."Canon Jane Wilson, vicar of Offwell and five other parishes, carried a placard on the march. She said: "I want Post Office Limited to know that Offwell Post Office serves a total of six parishes - and they are all mine."Eighty-eight-year-old Mon-ica Allen did not feel up to the three-mile walk, but took advantage of a specially laid on coach and met walkers outside Honiton Post Office."This campaign is very important to me," she told the Herald.""I'll have to get a taxi into town if Offwell Post Office is closed. It's not a cheap option these days."I meet people in the post office. "I won't meet them sat in a taxi. In Offwell the post office is more of a social thing."Viv Haines stressed: "It's not just the elderly who will suffer if the post office goes. I am happy for my children to walk to the village post office."One of my children is disabled and I really struggled to get into town when they were younger."Ann Richards said: "The heart of the village is being ripped out. We were without a post office for two years several years ago and it was awful."We got together and now we are going to lose this one. It is very short sighted of the powers that be."Action group member Eileen Rooke, 77, said: "I walked from the top of Ramsden Lane and I'm really proud of that."Offwell's sub-postmistress Helen Garwood said: "I'm shattered, but it was really good. The atmosphere was wonderful."The protesters stood outside the post office for around an hour, waving placards and speaking to members of the public, before being bussed back to Offwell.A member of staff from Honiton Post Office greeted them with a tin of chocolates, which were shared out.Offwell's campaign will conclude with the presentation of a petition, along with supporting documentation, to Post Office Limited.

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