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Stoke Ash postmistress Sheila Coe retires after 43 years at heart of community

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A Suffolk postmistress who has been at the heart of her community after running the business from a converted garage is retiring after 43 years.

Sheila Coe took over the Stoke Ash Post Office branch, near Eye, in 1979.

When a friend down the road from for her who ran the Post Office decided to sell up, she decided to covert her garage to run the business.

Stoke Ash postmistress Sheila Coe is retiring after 43 years. Picture submitted
Stoke Ash postmistress Sheila Coe is retiring after 43 years. Picture submitted

The grandmother said: "I’ll really miss the people, who come in for a lot of different things - Post Office services as well as banking and transactions.

"I have had some great face-to-face conversations with people over the years."

During the pandemic, she said being there for the village was important.

Sheila said: "When we had the big shutdown, I stayed here, open, the whole time. I really think people used to come in just to have a walk and to see someone."

She will now covert her garage into something else but hasn't decided what.

Shervorne Page, Post Office area manager, praised her long service.

“Sheila has been a wonderful Postmaster and I know how much the community has appreciated having her behind the counter," she said.

"Forty three years is an amazing amount of service. She and her husband Lionel are very much at the heart of their community.

“I hope she enjoys her well-deserved retirement and has time for more walks around her lovely garden. Post Office wishes her all the best.”

Until services to Stoke Ash are restored, alternative branches include the mobile service at Thorndon as well as the stores in Mendlesham and Eye.