Postmaster honoured after 50 years in the job

Ian Bainbridge
Ian Bainbridge, who is a postmaster in the Oatlands Mount branch, has received a long service award [BBC]

A postmaster who has worked in the same post office for 50 years says he still has a lot of support from his customers, including England manager Gareth Southgate.

Ian Bainbridge, who is a postmaster in the Oatlands Mount branch in Harrogate, has received a long service award in appreciation of his role in the community.

He began working at 17 when his parents ran the post office and still “looks forward to the job most days”.

Mr Bainbridge added he eventually hopes to retire so he can visit his children who live abroad, but has no immediate plans.

He said: “It is incredible how time goes by. It feels more like 20 years rather than 50 years, to be honest, and it’s staggering how time just rolls on.

“When I left school, my father pointed out there was very high employment in the early 70s and it might be better to just get straight into the world of work rather than get into any higher education.

“My parents made a very good living out of the post office and my father also said, ‘if you stick at it, you should be able to retire when you’re 30’, although that never happened, as I’m still here.”

Mr Bainbridge added he has met a lot of interesting customers over the last 50 years including some of the cast of Emmerdale and the men’s England football team manager Gareth Southgate.

'Still thriving'

However, he joked he “wouldn’t dare give him any advice” about the 2024 Euros.

He said: “It’s a great job.

“I look forward to work most days and we’re still thriving unlike some places, and we’ve got a lot of support from the local community which is good.

“We get a lot of young people and families due to Amazon packages being returned, as well as business banking and we offer 25 different currencies, so we have a good range of customers.”

Mr Bainbridge added he felt fortunate his business was not affected by the recent Horizon scandal and added the post office is “still important, particularly with a lot of the banks closing down, and I think it is still respected by most members of the community”.

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