Livewire - April 18, 2012

File photo dated 27/03/2012 of first and second-class stamps at a Post Office in Overseal, Derbyshire, as Royal Mail imposed a cap on the number of stamps every shop can buy to ensure it benefits from price rises later this month. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Friday April 13, 2012. The price of first-class stamps will increase from 46p to 60p and second class from 36p to 50p from April 30. See PA story CONSUMER Stamps. Photo credit should read: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

File photo dated 27/03/2012 of first and second-class stamps at a Post Office in Overseal, Derbyshire, as Royal Mail imposed a cap on the number of stamps every shop can buy to ensure it benefits from price rises later this month. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Friday April 13, 2012. The price of first-class stamps will increase from 46p to 60p and second class from 36p to 50p from April 30. See PA story CONSUMER Stamps. Photo credit should read: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

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By Mrs Muriel Bradley of Blackpool

I’ve lived in the resort all my life but not always in central Blackpool where I count myself lucky to have a post office within easy reach.

I worked for the post office as a young woman before I married. Back then it was the place to work. You had a job for life, your parents said. I’m now 82 and know jobs for life are like unicorns. Very hard to spot if they exist at all. But what hurts most is the systematic destruction of the post office over the decades.

I’m not sure who or what’s to blame, the management, the Government or Europe. I think it’s a mix of all. They have taken away traditional roles from the PO. Online sales don’t help. I went on a course myself at the post office when I lived at Anchorsholme so I could keep in touch with my family abroad. I even buy some groceries online if I’m not up to walking out or it’s too cold.

And my son assists me when renewing my house insurance or other things. He renews his car tax online. He used to go to the post office. I still go to the post office for my pension but some don’t do that these days.

In my day a post office was a sociable place where you would chat in the queue and catch up with the news and ask after each other’s health. It’s become more impersonal because of the pressure of benefits claimants in the queues but I have a chat with them too.

I don’t want to say where I now live because of the risk of crime in the area. But it’s a place which still has small shops, proper shops, and most important it still has a post office. So many others have closed. It was a travesty when they closed the one at Abingdon Street in the heart of the town centre and what has happened since? Nothing.

The same goes for South Shore’s and the one at Cleveleys. But now we are hammering another nail in the coffin by increasing the price of first class stamps to 60p. I still write letters but most of my family keep in touch with me by email when I can remember my password!

I love getting letters but the only people to write to me are my childhood friends – down to just two ladies now. They remind me that I’m alive and that others care.

I send them out for the same reason. But 60p is too much. My niece works in a post office and says their takings were down a third at Christmas because people weren’t sending cards out the same and once the panic buying of stamps has stopped she expects a big drop in trade.

It really is the Last Post!