A COUPLE who have kept a village post office running for more than 26-years have sent out their own last letter to let the community know they are leaving.

Kath and Peter Stockdale, 75 and 78 respectively, have been trying to sell the Post Office at Hunton near Bedale for the past 11-years but have been unable to find a buyer to take the business over.

Now they have decided to close the shop and post office from today Saturday, November 28.

They say they have enjoyed their time in the shop since buying the business in 1994, making many friends over the ensuing decades.

But times have changed since they started out.

There were no supermarkets with online deliveries, and elderly members of the community relied on the shop delivering milk and newspapers seven days a week, along with groceries during the week.

Mr Stockdale has lived in the village since he was five-years-old, helping his parents’ dairy business and working as the local milkman for many years.

He said: “We have had many happy moments and made many friends, we would like to thank all our customers for their support during this time.

“We were considering closing at this time last year but now we are very glad we carried on, in view of the problems Covid-19 has caused.

“It has given us much pleasure to be of service to the village during these difficult times, and must thank the customers who helped us out with stock.”

The couple handed in their resignation to the Post Office three months ago but even at this late stage are hoping someone may come along with an offer to take over the business, which they believe still provides an important service for the community.

“This will be a very sad time for us, but we do feel it is the right time for us to move on,” added Mr Stockdale.

The couple are planning to move to nearby Leyburn.

And in their well-deserved retirement, they hope to take up the many interests and sports they have not had the time to pursue since they took over the business.

Both are keen sports enthusiasts who were heavily involved in setting up Bedale Tennis Club and Bedale Sports Athletics Association.