Dedicated Osgodby postmistress marks 30 years service
Ann Bennett runs the Osgodby post office branch from her own home and the service has proved to be a lifeline for the local community - particularly through the pandemic and as local banks have closed.
Post Office Area Manager Joanne Fryatt presented Ann with her award and thanked her for her long service.
She said: “In such a rural location, Ann is, and continues to be, a lifeline to her community and I would personally like to thank Ann for all of her fantastic customer service and hard work – especially during the pandemic.”
Having previously worked as a nurse, Ann’s years of service began in 1991 when she decided to take on the post office after the nearby branch closed.
Being home-based for the post office suited Ann, as her eldest daughter had just started school and her youngest daughter was two, so she could more conveniently juggle the twin tasks of being a mother and Postmaster in the same place.
Over the years, she has been supported by various family members at different times.
Friends, her mother-in-law and her dad have stepped in so Ann could take a well deserved break and go on holiday.
After an accident to her hand a number of years ago, Ann trained her eldest daughter to help her in the branch – and she continues to help to this day.
Reflecting on the changes over the years, Ann said how central banking has become to her business.
She said: “Since the local bank branch permanently closed during the pandemic, we have seen a noticeable increase in the use of banking services.
“There used to be six bank branches in the local area, whereas today, there are none.”
Ann estimates the nearest bank branch is 20 miles away meaning her branch brings vital services within reach of her community in the absence of a bank.
Although the initial impact of the pandemic saw footfall sharply fall, Ann said she resolved to keep her branch open throughout the crisis and that it was quickly very busy once again – including with many local people who did not typically use the branch.
In particular, she noticed how many people were posting and returning parcels, likely due to an increase in online shopping.
When asked what she enjoyed the most about being a postmaster, Ann said: “It’s the helping in the community – particularly the elderly people who just want a chat as that might be their trip out for the day.”
Looking forward, Ann, now 59, said she is committed to serving another nine years as the postmaster of Osgodby Post Office and wanted to thank the local community for their constant and enduring support for her and her business.