'I gave it a good run': Postmistress of 27 years retires due to Covid

Post office staff burgh castle

Josie Thomas (left) and the post office manager Edie Jones - Credit: Brittany Woodman

A dedicated postmistress is retiring after 27 years in the job - and more than half a century after her family first set up the lifeline village branch.

Friday (November 27) was the last day as Burgh Castle's postmistress for 65-year-old Josie Thomas, who took over the Great Yarmouth village branch from her aunty Lilian in 1993. 

josie thomas burgh castle post office

Josie Thomas enjoying a well-earned drink as the Burgh Castle post office closes for good - Credit: Brittany Woodman

Though Lilian retired in her 70s, she could be found "chipping in" with the management of the store until she died at the age of 103 last year.

Mrs Thomas's family, the Liffens, who also owned nearby Liffen Holiday Park until it was bought by Parkdean Resorts 15 years ago, set up the Butt Lane post office in 1969 to fill a gap in the market. 

Mrs Thomas said: "My father built an extension on his mother's home so that Lily could open a post office and shop for the village.

"She was a civil servant, and it came naturally to her."

burgh castle post office

The group post office team, which are a bubble. From left to right: Caroline, Tom Thomas, Josie, Edie Jones, Jane Burton and Jane Morrison - Credit: Brittany Woodman

Though Mrs Thomas left Burgh Castle for a while, and had a career stint as a John Player cigarette representative, she decided to return to the family business after meeting her husband.

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She said: "Riding around for motorsport competitions and sitting on fancy cars was extremely fun, I can't lie. But I was happy to come back. I'd always been part of the post office, one way or another."

This year, due to Covid-19, she said the venture had become financially unsustainable - and that quite simply, she'd "had enough".

"I had to make someone redundant in June because we weren't making enough money and that was horrible," she said.

josie thomas burgh castle

Josie Thomas, who is retiring from the post office after a staggering 27 years on the job - Credit: Brittany Woodman

"Besides, I've given it a good run. Those of us who work there are getting on, and we were worried about being exposed to the virus.

"My husband Tom and I are going to incorporate the extension into the family home and give it real bit of TLC."

This afternoon, Mrs Thomas, her husband, sister, post office manager Edie Jones and former staff members Jane Burton and Jane Morrison gathered for a drink in the post office's honour.

Josie and Tom Thomas

Josie and her husband Tom - Credit: Brittany Woodman

Samantha Sanson, Post Office area manager, said: “We know how important a Post Office is to a community and we will be looking to see how we can best restore Post Office service to the village as soon as possible.”