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More than 100 people protest against closure of Hingham post office - and thank the retiring owners for 30 years of service

PUBLISHED: 17:07 30 June 2014 | UPDATED: 17:02 24 November 2014

Emotions ran high during a demonstration in Hingham today, which saw more than 100 people object to the closure of the post office - as it shut its doors for the last time.

Protestors turned out in force to express their gratitude to the retiring owners and to criticise the Post Office for allowing the closure of the business.

Politicians and people living in the town launched a spirited campaign to save the business after current owners Jeremy and Pat Dore announced their retirement plans in 2012.

In June, more than 200 people attended a public meeting organised by Mid-Norfolk MP George Freeman.

But despite pressure from the town an alternative solution was not found, meaning that those living in Hingham will now be forced to travel to Wymondham or Watton to use the post office’s services.

Peter Eldridge, chair of Hingham Town Council, condemned the Post Office for failing to find alternative arrangements despite knowng about the retirement for two years.

He said: “The closure is leaving the vulnerable members of the community to have great difficulty in getting the service offered by the post office.

“This is particularly true for the elderly and disabled but also for young single parents who will not be able to use the post office to get cash.”

Mr and Mrs Dore, who owned the post office for more than 30 years, put the business into agency hands last year in the hopes that alternative premises or a buyer would be found.

But after nothing came to light, they were forced to close the business.

Mr Dore said: “We didn’t want the post office to shut but we have given it two years beyond our retirement. We are very unhappy. There have been tears today.

“The town is very understanding and has been very supportive to us. I don’t think there’s been one angry word about it.”

A spokesperson for the Post Office said: “We would like to apologise to customers for any inconvenience caused by the temporary closure of Hingham Post Office.

“Customers should be assured that the Post Office is committed to re-establishing a service in the area and will work hard to ensure this, either new premises or perhaps an outreach solution.”

The closure comes as part of a trend which last year saw thousands of branches around the country struggling for survival.

A campaign to modernise the post office was introduced, with earlier opening and later closing hours aimed to encourage more trade. So far, 41 branches in Norfolk have been modernised.

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