Emotional farewell as Fortuneswell Post Office finally shuts shop

END OF AN ERA: Kay Schofield with her post office staff members Chris Beech and Elaine Masters, together with the Jackson Gallery Singers

END OF AN ERA: Kay Schofield with her post office staff members Chris Beech and Elaine Masters, together with the Jackson Gallery Singers

First published in Dorset Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Features & entertainments writer

A POST office which has been operational for 152 years has shut its doors for the last time.

Postmistress Kay Schofield has retired from Fortuneswell Post Office on Portland after 11 years.

She and her team, Elaine Masters and Chris Beech, bowed out with a farewell party and a session from the Jackson Gallery singers.

Elaine will work at Underhill’s new post office, which has opened in the Paper Shop.

The trio were presented with a lemon drizzle cake in the shape of a stamped envelope, baked by neighbours Mark and Jo Jackson from the Jackson Gallery.

Kay, 75, who has worked for the post office service ‘on and off’ for 55 years and lives in the Fortuneswell building, plans to move to Exeter to be closer to her family.

She said: “It feels very emotional today. To work in the post office has been a wonderful way of life. You get to know your customers.

“The biggest change has been how the post office has become centralised.

“It doesn’t have the same community feeling any more.”

The post office building is up for sale and it is hoped it will be turned into a community building.

Weymouth and Portland borough councillor Sandy West, who represents Underhill, attended the farewell party.

She said: “This is a special building with wonderful architecture.

“I wish all the girls here the best for the future and the best of luck to the new post office in the Paper Shop.

“A lot of the customers have got to know all the girls.

“It’s good that we have still got a post office.

“A building like this is something from a bygone era.”

Among the songs performed at the emotional farewell were Que Sera and We’ll Meet Again.

Elaine, who has worked at the post office for 15 years, said: “We’re like a little family. This is a very sad day.”

As a memento, Chris took a wall-hanging calendar which has been in the post office since it opened.

Chris, who has been behind the counter for 26 years, said: “I’ve been changing the date on the calendar every day.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do yet.

“This has been such a lovely community job.

“I’ve seen customers as children and then grown up, coming in with their children.

The new post office at the Paper Shop, 95-97 Fortuneswell, will be open seven days a week, from 5am to 8pm Monday to Saturday and from 6am to 4pm on Sundays.

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