Last post as Sutton Benger stalwart retires after 29 years
7:00am Friday 17th January 2014 in By Julie Armstrong, Senior reporter
Sutton Benger postmaster Peter Smith is to retire this year after 29 years of running the postal service from his house in the High Street.
Mr Smith, 61, who is well-known for his regular skydives for various charities, plans to leave in April this year when the post office is expected to move to the Bell House Hotel down the road.
He said: “The opportunity came up under the post office modernisation scheme and I’ve done 29 years. I’m sure Chris will do a good job.”
Chris Williams, who will take over as postmaster as well as continuing in his role as general manager at the hotel, intends to also open a coffee shop and delicatessen to create a “community focal point” for the village.
“We have a large car park and nice gardens,” he said.
“I’m looking forward to bringing some life and energy into this part of the village, some community spirit. I think it will be a really good thing for the village.”
Mr Williams, 59, moved to Sutton Benger in 2012. He is originally from Wales and used to run the restaurant at Harvey Nichols in London.
The relocation of the post office is under consultation until February 18, so people have the chance to give their views on the proposed site.
Opening hours are to be extended to 8am–6pm Monday to Saturday and 9am–1pm Sunday.
Mr Smith’s family has been in the post office trade for 50 years, as his father was a sub-postmaster in Oxfordshire and Berkshire.
He has planning permission to build a two-bedroom house in his garden and is waiting to hear if he can subdivide his house into two bungalows. He said he wants to sell off the plot to a developer and doesn’t know if he will stay in the village.
He is looking to get a job in a supermarket for the next few years. He said: “I will miss meeting people every day so I’ll probably work on a checkout.”
Comments on relocation can be left at www.postoffice views.co.uk, emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or posted to Freepost Your Comments, using the branch code 323548.