Norwich postmaster's emotional farewell after 48 years
- Credit: Picture: DENISE BRADLEY Copyright: Archant 2021
A Norwich postmaster who has spent nearly five decades serving his community has retired.
Paul Wallace, who runs the Earlham Green Lane post office, has been working in the post office since he was a teenager and retired on Wednesday after 48 years.
Mr Wallace started alongside his uncle Donny Strivens when he ran the post office in Lovelace Road, when the estate opened after the Second World War.
The family has been renting from the Co-Op for seven decades and moved to the Earlham site 17 years ago.
In September the postmaster was concerned there would be no-one to take over the thriving post office, prompting a community petition signed by 900 people.
The Co-Op did not take on the ownership of the post office, which was sold through Humberstone to the new buyer.
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On Wednesday, Mr Wallace said he became emotional at the comments and presents from customers who dropped by to wish him well.
Post office employee Mike Coe, who has worked in the post office for 50 years, also retired, and is looking forward to spending time with his two grandchildren.
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Mr Wallace said: "Between us there's about 100 years.
"It has felt like Christmas every week for the last year. Everyone staying at home is buying stuff off Ebay or buying clothes and then they are no good and they need to send it back - that's where the post office comes in with the mail orders.
"It's been really busy, the busiest I have ever known it.
"We're still serving people who I have know for 48 years. You see all the family grow up, the children, the grandchildren.
"I got quite emotional, I didn't think I would."
The 63-year-old will not always be putting his feet up in retirement after his family bought him an allotment.
His wife Sharon retired shortly before Christmas after working at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital for 40 years.
Mr Wallace said: "They know I'm a keen gardener. it's going to be wonderful growing my own vegetables. I'll also hopefully get to spend more time with my three grandchildren, Oscar, Ruby and Arthur, when it is safe to do so."
Looking back on nearly five decades, he said his fondest memories were Christmas time, especially at the family's Lovelace Road site.
The post office will be closed for around two weeks, as the new owner undergoes training.