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Postmasters ill health - Birches Head PO is up for Auction

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Postmasters ill health - Birches Head PO is up for Auction

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Postmaster's ill health means Birches Head post office is set for auction

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CANCER victim Nunzio Vitale fears the post office he ran for 11 years will close shortly as no-one is interested in taking it on.

The 55-year-old has taken the heart-breaking decision to auction off the building housing Birches Head Post Office, which has been managed by a holding company ever since he started chemotherapy two years ago.

The Birches Head road property is now set to go under the hammer in April and he fears the community will be left without the facility.

Nunzio – who first took the post office on in 2002 – said he had been unable to return to his previous role as postmaster as he is not yet in remission from eye cancer.

He has been calling on the Post Office to find a permanent replacement but he believes applicants are being put off as they would have to agree to new terms on opening hours which makes it unattractive.

Nunzio, from Endon, said: “It was after I came back from treatment that I realised it was too much for me to take on, and they got in an interim company to manage it, but there’s been no changes in the last year.

“Nobody had any idea it was going to close. When I’ve seen my old customers they ask me when I’m coming back and when I tell them it will be closing they are really shocked.

“It’s put a lot of uncertainty into the community and if it goes there won’t be a lot left here. The problem is the Post Office insist on all these condition which can mean it’s too much of a commitment.”

Residents called on the Post Office to do more to keep the branch open.

James Davies, aged 65, of Chorlton Road, Birches Head, said: “I pop in a lot because I’ve got friends in Scotland. It’s handy having a post office nearby to deliver parcels.

“I also do quite a bit on eBay. All the pensioners will miss it like anything, it’s a Godsend.”

Margaret Dean, aged 60, from Birches Head, added: “It will definitely be a big issue if it closes for good. I call in a lot for money and stamps. If it closed, I’d have to go to Sneyd Green of Northwood.

“It’s always a busy little post office. Sometimes in the morning you get people queuing outside waiting for it to open.”

Teenager Devon Martin, works at the nearby Mayer’s Stores he 17-year-old said: “We get a lot of people from outside Birches Head coming in here from the post office and it keeps local people in the area too. We’ve got a variety of old and young people around here who can’t get to other places easily, so it’s an important service for the community.”

The Post Office confirmed the Birches Head branch was due to close in the next two months and appealed for anyone interested in taking it on the local service to get in touch.

A spokesman said: “We are aware that the postmaster at Birches Head has expressed an interest in leaving and has put the business on the market.

“We would like to reassure customers that the Post Office is committed to maintaining a service in the area and will work hard to ensure this.”

Anyone interested in taking over the post office should call 0845 266 8790 or email NTquestions@postoffice.co.uk.
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