MORE than a century of family service will come to an end when Ian Topham retires later this month.

The 64-year-old will be swapping the counter for the potting shed when he retires from Boroughbridge Post Office after four decades.

The business, which has been in his family for three generations, spanning 109 years, will remain open under new ownership.

Mr Topham and his wife, Barbara, are moving to Alne, near Easingwold, where they face a gardening challenge.

He said: "Our new house has a three-quarters-of-a-mile long garden, which was advertised as one of the longest in North Yorkshire. It's just as well I enjoy gardening."

Mr Topham, who was awarded the MBE in the 1998 New Year Honours list, was Boroughbridge's first mayor, a position he held four times.

He has also worked to defend the town from flooding as emergency officer, a post he gave up 18 months ago.