New Years honour for East Barkwith postmaster
David Ward will receive a British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to the Post Office and to the community in East Barkwith.
Mr Ward’s family also runs Donington on Bain Village Shop, with his Mum, Jenny, having just reached the milestone of working there for 50 years.
His family took on East Barkwith Post Office &Village Shop, 47 years ago and Mr Ward has been the Postmaster there for 30 years.
His wife, Sally, also works there and they are both listening ears when the community are lonely or need advice.
Both shops are at the heart of their communities, and they remained fully open during the pandemic.
Mr Ward said he was “surprised and very honoured” to receive the British Empire Medal.
“When I received an email with the news, I wasn’t sure if it was genuine until I got a confirmation phone call a few weeks later.
“I kept both shops open throughout the pandemic as I knew that people were reliant on Post Office services and for buying groceries.
"With bank branches having closed, people needed to do their banking with us too. We were extra busy. Turnover was two and a half times the normal rate. Customers really appreciated that we were open.”
Mr Ward is President of the Lincoln and Grimsby National Federation of Sub Postmasters (NFSP) and he has recently become the President of the NFSP’s North East Region.
He also volunteers on the Post Office Postmaster Forum.
Mr Ward has had conversations with many top politicians about the important role Post Offices and village shops play in communities and how they could be supported, including recently campaigning for the Government’s Energy Bill Relief Scheme to be extended to Post Offices beyond March.
He said: “A Post Office and village shop really is at the heart of a community.
"In East Barkwith, we are the last shop. We often get people, who live alone, say that we are the only people that they have seen all week.
"As well as the services that we provide, people come in for the social interaction, when they are upset or need advice. We are here for them.”
Mr Ward has been a Parish Councillor for 25 years.
One year, he did a big fundraiser for Baby Lives charity, raising £1,000 for his local hospital towards incubators. A year later, his son needed this equipment when he was born.
Through sales of the National Lottery at his Post Office, he helps many good causes and when he won an independent retailer competition, he shared the prize of £750 between the school where he was a governor, the village hall and the local swimming pool.
Post Office Chief Executive, Nick Read said: “David is a pillar of the community for East Barkwith and Donington on Bain and he really cares about the rural communities that he serves.
"He uses his extensive Postmaster and retail knowledge to help other Postmasters through the National Federation of Sub Postmasters and the Post Office Postmaster Forum.
"I am delighted that he’s been granted a British Empire Medal.”