'We've got to fight' - postmistress

PUBLISHED: 07:46 28 May 2008 | UPDATED: 21:51 15 June 2010

HELEN Garwood has been the sub-postmistress at Offwell ever since Hugo Swire MP officially opened the community post office four years ago. In six weeks' time she could be out of a job. Post Office Limited has earmarked the village post office for closure

HELEN Garwood has been the sub-postmistress at Offwell ever since Hugo Swire MP officially opened the community post office four years ago.In six weeks' time she could be out of a job.Post Office Limited has earmarked the village post office for closure, on government instructions to cut the number of post office branches nationwide, and Mr Swire has been one of the first to lend his support to a campaign to save the facility."He has been in with posters and stickers," said Helen.She has one of the most familiar faces in Offwell and will be sorely missed, if a six-week consultation period fails to save the post office."Everyone is absolutely devastated," said Helen. "People have been in to ask what they can do to help."I am absolutely gutted. It's a lovely place to be and it just annoys me that people who live in cities have made this recommendation."Before I moved to the country, I didn't know the implications. "People who live in cities and decide to close rural services are not to blame, because they just don't know."Helen is employed by Post Office Limited and will be made redundant if efforts to save Offwell Post Office fail."I honestly thought we'd be safe," she told the Herald, pointing out Offwell Rural Services Association fought hard to get a temporary building and is fundraising hard for a permanent post office and village store."What about carbon footprint?" she asked. "It is only mentioned when it supports something. Now the government is encouraging people to get in their cars."Although devastated by news of the possible closure, Helen has not given up hope."I think there is a chance for Offwell, because they wouldn't put it out to public consultation if there wasn't," she said."We've got to fight it, or there really will be no chance.

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