Post office re-opening in Lakes village earns royal approval

From left, Renwick Russell, owner of the property, Roger Halliday, Postmaster, Tim Farron MP, Karen Bragg, Field Change Advisor for the Post Office, Vivian Rees, parish and district councillor and Malcolm Jessop, former Postmaster

From left, Renwick Russell, owner of the property, Roger Halliday, Postmaster, Tim Farron MP, Karen Bragg, Field Change Advisor for the Post Office, Vivian Rees, parish and district councillor and Malcolm Jessop, former Postmaster

First published in News The Westmorland Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

THE royal seal of approval has been given to the owner of Grasmere’s new post office.

Roger Halliday, husband of Lakes councillor Heidi, officially took over the reins of the village’s post office on Friday.

Housed in a new gift shop called Grasmere Weavers, it ends months of uncertainty after the village’s former post-masters announced they would be moving on.

That would have meant an eight-mile round trip to Ambleside for Grasmere residents.

But Mr Halliday, who has previously worked in retail, came to the rescue.

“It came pretty close,” he said. “Losing the post office would have had a huge effect on the village but I’m really excited to get started now.”

Mr Halliday has been running the shop for a number of weeks but the experienced hands of Malcolm and Lynne Jessop, who until recently ran the now-sold Red Lion Square branch, have been taking care of the post office’s affairs.

And Mr Halliday’s efforts have not gone un-noticed.

Recently Mr Halliday received a personal letter from Michael Whitehead, the Assistant Private Secretary to the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, congratulating him for his hard work.

Mrs Jessop contacted Prince Charles about the situation because he was visiting the area when they opened their branch 15 years ago.

The letter reads: “The Prince of Wales is well aware that you have worked incredibly hard to save the Post Office and to maintain its vital role in the community.

“Grasmere is truly fortunate to have you at the helm of Grasmere Weavers.”

To learn about running the postal side Mr Halliday has been training in Burnley while a ‘guru’ will be helping to oversee the first few weeks.

“I’ve had a really positive reaction so far. Everyone has been very supportive. It’s a service they really didn’t want to lose.”

The shop, on Stock Lane, was previously Reekies of Grasmere.

It stocks sheepskin products as well general gifts and will be open from 9am to 6pm, Monday to Sunday.

South Lakes MP Tim Farron said: “An eight-mile round trip to Ambleside would have been expensive, time-consuming and inconvenient for Grasmere residents.

“I want to thank the Jessops for providing such a wonderful service to the community and I know Heidi and Roger Halliday will do all they can to do the same.”

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