Delight as Post Office services return to Shillingstone
PEOPLE living in Shillingstone were delighted to welcome Post Office services back to the village last week.
Residents had been forced to make the trip to Child Okeford, Okeford Fitzpaine or even Blandford since the village Post Office closed more than two years ago.
But the hard work of a group of residents led by church warden Mike Powell and assisted by the parish council, Dorset Community Action and the Parochial Church Council, has resulted in a new outreach Post Office based in Shillingstone Church Centre.
Postmistress Rose Playden runs the service, which will operate on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1.30pm to 3.30pm. The branch offers a wide range of Post Office services including foreign currency, banking deposits and withdrawals and the payment of bills including gas, telephone and council tax.
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Mr Powell, who was closely involved with the conversion of the former school building to create Shillingstone Church Centre last year, has worked with Dorset Community Action to bring the Post Office back to the village.
He was also the first customer, sending a package to America, when the branch opened last Thursday.
"Lots of people have said this is exactly what they need, and we were all surprised by just how many services are available to people," Mr Powell said.
"A lot of people in the village either can't drive or don't want to drive to use a Post Office. Now they have this right on their doorstep and the hope is that they will make the most of it."
Simon Thompson of Dorset Community Action added: "This really is all down to the dedication of Mike, with support from the parish council and also from Bob Walter MP, who kept pursuing Post Office Ltd.
"This has been a great community effort. There were times when everyone felt like giving up but we kept pushing and Mike has worked a small Miracle."
Report and picture by Mathew Manning