Last post for Marilyn - Stanley’s campaigning post mistress retires

Marilyn Hirst.
Marilyn Hirst.

Campaigning postmistress Marilyn Hirst – who helped organise a petition to keep post offices in local communities – retired this week.

Mrs Hirst, 61, fought to keep Stanley Post Office and others like it open in the face of a branch closure programme.

In 2005 she joined other community post office owners in London to present a four million signature petition to the then Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Mum-of-two Mrs Hirst said: “We started the campaign when we lost some services and wanted to find a solution for our customers.

“We wanted to make sure people could continue to access a post office in their local village rather than going to banks.

“Our fear was that once a local post office goes, then the pub goes and the village dies.”

She said she still feels passionate about the post office and what it stands for but after much deliberation, haddecided it was now the right time to retire.

Mrs Hirst said: “The post office has been a big part of my life.

“My daughters grew up here. There has been much laughter and tears but my customers have helped me through.

“It’s like a favourite jumper you have to know when it’s the right time to put it away.”

Her daughter Alison Hirst, 31, added: “Mum’s commitment to the post office has gained the trust of her loyal customers and she will be sorely missed.

“It’s now time to put her family first and enjoy some leisure time with her husband, children, grandson and mother.”

Mrs Hirst and her husband Richard have sold the post office to new owners, although the couple will continue to live at the property behind the shop.

Mrs Hirst said: “It will be nice to be spontaneous and do things as a family without having to plan everything like a military expedition.”‏

Stanley Post Office has now closed for refurbishment and is scheduled to reopen on Tuesday April 8.