A Fylde coast shop with a history dating back more than 130 years and in the same family for the last five decades has closed its doors.
Mark Bamforth paid tribute to his customers after turning the key on the front door of Bamforth’s Store in Warton Street, Lytham for the final time.
As long-time postmaster at the premises on the corner of West Cliff, Mark fought for close to a decade to keep the post office counter open but announced his resignation in August after a battle with ill health.
Now, the entire business has followed the post office counter in closing, although Mark – who is a Fylde councillor – is still in negotiation with the Post Office to find a new location for post services in that area of town.
Coun Bamforth’s family took over the post office, which has been a shop since the 1880s, in 1964.
He fought to keep the business open on several occasions, despite attempts by the Post Office to close the branch as part of a cost-cutting and modernisation project.
Thousands of people joined a march to save the facility when it first came under threat.
“It was just not feasible for the shop to carry on without the post office,” he said.
“All the customers are like family and as quite a lot have said, you have seen me grow up. I am so grateful for all their support over the years.”
Former members of staff at the shop joined Mark and his family for a buffet lunch after the closure and Mark was quick to post on Facebook:
“It was a day of very mixed emotions but it was nice to have my children and grandchildren there and thanks to everyone for their cards and messages of support.”
Mark, who is looking forward to having more time to devote to his council duties, hopes to rent out the ground floor shop premises, while he and his family will continue to live in the accommodation above.
Fylde Council leader Coun Sue Fazackerley paid tribute to Mark and said: “He has done a very good job in that part of Lytham in his professional life and a local point of contact for the council.
“He is a bit of a Lytham institution and a lot of people hold him in high esteem. I wish him success in his life.”
Fylde MP Mark Menzies added: “Mark’s family has been a mainstay in the area for a long time and I am sure many people will miss the personal touch they brought to the role.”