Third-generation Shropshire Postmaster to retire - but customers don't want him to go

A third-generation Shropshire postmaster is to retire after working at post offices his whole working life.

Postmaster John Ashton of Bowere Heath Post Office is retiring after 19 years
Postmaster John Ashton of Bowere Heath Post Office is retiring after 19 years

John Ashton has spent 19 years as the postmaster in Bomere Heath, and is the third generation of his family to hold the title.

His grandfather, then father, were postmasters at Haresfinch Post Office in St Helen’s. He then joined that branch as a clerk until his father retired and he then became the Postmaster too.

John then got married and sold his business to move to Shrewsbury, where he did relief work in post offices across the town for many years.

Then came the day that John and his wife decided to put down roots and they took on Bomere Heath – it ticked all the boxes for them.

John said: “The best things about working in post offices are the people that you meet and that no two days are the same.

“Customers don’t want me to retire, but even before the pandemic came, I was thinking of retiring as I can’t carry on working for ever.

“The pandemic was the busiest that I have ever been. People were working from home and not commuting, and people wanted to stay local. The community wanted to send lots of parcels to people that they could not meet and there was lots of home shopping returns. There was lots of banking on behalf of the high street banks as it saved them from travelling further afield.”

When John’s wife became ill and then died, Sue Brookes, who had also been a postmaster elsewhere, came to work at the branch. She has remained working there ever since.

John is looking forward to having more time his churchwarden duties in Bayston Hill, where he lives and for his hobby of archery. His loyal colleague Sue, who is also a Slimming World consultant, is looking forward to helping more people to lose weight that may have put on during the pandemic.

Area manager Adam Shillcock said: “It is amazing that John has worked at Post Offices all of his working career, including become third generation postmaster at Harffinch, and then 19 years as postmaster for Bomere Heath. I wish him a well-earned retirement after devoting so many years to the post office.”

The post office and cards and stationery shop will go on the market as a home. The Post Office said it was working hard to restore service to the village. In the interim alternative branches are at Hadnall, Baschurch and Sundorne.

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