A COUPLE who are ensuring that the village post office at Osmotherley remains open have been unable to take anything for granted.

Mr Dave Burgon and his wife, Sybil, said this week that so far they had not seen any of the millions of pounds proclaimed by the government in its Rural White Paper to help country communities survive economic crises.

Following the resignation of Mr Chris Gaunt, the Post Office accepted an application by Mr and Mrs Burgon to move the Osmotherley office to the shop they have run in North End for 11 years. Mr Gaunt extended his notice period by two months to ensure continuity of service for villagers.

The transfer is due to take place on May 24, which will allow BT time to install the special telephone line needed by the computer system.

Mr Burgon said: "We would appreciate some help towards the cost of alterations to the shop to accommodate the post office.

"Unfortunately, at the moment, we are having difficulty in finding the source of any grants which may be on offer from the various agencies with an interest in saving rural post offices.

"You keep hearing in the press about the government making millions of pounds available for rural areas but we have not seen any of it yet. We have had great difficulty in finding out exactly where to get this help."

Mr Burgon said he hoped to find out more about the help which might be available during discussions with a representative of the Countryside Agency.

A Post Office spokesman said help would be given towards the cost of additional security.

Mr Ian Strong, secretary of the Yorkshire rural community council, said: "This is a familiar story."

HAPPY TO HELP: Mr and Mrs Burgon outside their shop in Osmotherley - Picture: Nigel Whitfield/DST