A POPULAR postmaster who has provided services for 14 communities across North Yorkshire is retiring after 21-years.

Ian Sykes ran Bedale Post Office alongside a mobile post office which toured villages.

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He took over the town’s office in 2000 after redundancy from Barclays Bank, where he worked in a variety of branches including Bedale.

He said: “I was looking for a new role and the vacancy came up for Bedale Post Office.

“I already knew and liked the area, so it was a no-brainer and I successfully applied.

“Running it since 2000 has been very enjoyable.

“It is a lovely community with lovely people.

“I have also really enjoyed being my own boss.”

The Northern Echo:

Retiring Bedale postmaster Ian Sykes

Ian was eventually asked if he was interested in providing outreach services to nearby communities, leading to him becoming one of the first postmasters in the country to get a mobile post office in 2008.

This allowed him to easily reach more residents without having to take equipment from place to place and having to set up in a variety of locations.

Bedale Mobile visits Crakehall, Morton on Swale, Snape, Newton le Willows, Kirkby Fleetham, Well, Carthorpe, Scruton, Finghall, Hunton, Middleham, Bellerby, West Witton and Leeming.

Ian added: “These communities are really grateful for the visit by the mobile post office, it provides them with a life-line to essential services.”

Post Office area manager, Carol Head praised the contribution that Ian has made to the community.

She said: “Bedale postmaster, Ian Sykes, is held in high regard by the people of Bedale and all the communities served by his mobile office.

“During the pandemic he and his loyal staff continued to serve them all and they were very busy. I wish him a well-earned retirement.”

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Ian’s existing staff will continue to work at the branch, which has been in the same building for more than 100-years, as well as helping to run the mobile offices.

He is full of praise for the staff who have worked nearly as long as him at Bedale, with Sandra Booton joining in October 2001 and Celia Watkins in June 2004.

He is planning to continue living in Northallerton while looking forward to playing golf, and spending more time with his wife at their mobile home in Pooley Bridge.

The Post Office in Bedale is being taken over by new postmaster, Ejaz Hussain.

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