Modified: September 16, 2015 Last Modified: February 23, 2021
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Q - not very often
Mark and Gill took over the Post Office from Jenny Dunsdon on 4th August 1997 and for the past 24 years have been an important and integral part of the village.
Not only a hub for (chatting), banking, pension/cash withdrawn, business banking, sending post, collecting packages, buying cards, gifts, beauty products, sweets, stationary, plants, paint brushes, hardware, snow sledges and even pointing guns! There seems to be no limit to what the shop would sell – Gill saw it as their mission to always have a mixed A-Z of stock of everything that was not sold anywhere else in the village! The most popular memories seem to be of the sweets on sale, whether as a child or people taking their children and grandchildren. Gill is known to everyone in the village for her passion of plants, with not only selling plants at the shop but also having a fabulous stall at the village fete. Gill’s second passion next to her cats was the vast array of greeting cards for all ages and all occasions.
Mark is known to everyone in the village for his passion of fishing and of gardening. Mark has served Chiddingfold Post Office for almost 33 years, as between 1988 and 1997 Mark would forfeit 2 weeks of his annual holiday from Godalming Branch Post Office where Gill was manager and Mark was deputy manager, so that Jenny Dunsdon could take a well needed holiday! Gill and Mark have done much for the community including supporting and selling local charity tickets (including the village cinema, Chiddfest etc.) and as volunteers for the bonfire amongst other things. Also, as a general font of knowledge for all thing’s village related!
It has been a difficult 5 years for Mark and Gill since they were advised that the ‘Rural Subsidy’ for Post Offices was being removed and that the sorting office would be going and the only future for a Post Office in the village was as a franchisee at approx. £:8,500 per annum. With no way of being able to make sufficient income from the shop, they could not apply for the franchise and did not want to leave the village without a post office, so decided to stay open until a franchisee was found. Little did they know it would take so many years, which has taken its toll. Gill has been working at Squires in the office for a few years and covering for Mark at the Post Office on his day off. Gill will be continuing to work at Squires and is sad to cease being “Gill from the Post Office” but is grateful for all the friends she has made during the 24 years serving them.
There are still cards and other stock in the shop which Gill will continue to sell on a part-time basis or by request.
There may even be the prospect of writing her memoirs ‘A tale from a Rural Post Office’! Mark is going to set up a small gardening business. They will still remain living at Wits End (formerly known as the Post Office).
I am sure you will join me in thanking Mark and Gill for their (33)/24 years of service and wish them well for the future, including perhaps a holiday together for the first time in 24 years!
Every story has to end but in life every end is a new beginning – so we also wish Monika and Amit every success with the Post Office franchise at Roberts Stores.
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