Video: Village postmistress seals her half century

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IT WAS the year that Beatlemania took hold in America, Harold Wilson became Prime Minister and Nelson Mandela was sentenced to life imprisonment in South Africa.

But 1964 marks another memorable milestone for one Yorkshire resident.

Postmistress Marjorie Goldthorpe is celebrating 50 years' service

Postmistress Marjorie Goldthorpe is celebrating 50 years' service

On January 8, 1964, Marjorie Goldthorpe started her first day in her new job as postmistress at Great Preston Post Office on the outskirts of Leeds.

And now, the grandmother-of-six is celebrating an incredible 50 years in the job.

Over the years, Marjorie, 74, has turned the Post Office into a hub for the whole community.

She said: “The time has gone so quickly that you don’t realise how old you are and how long you’ve been here.

“It’s been a big change. There were no computers or calculators when I took over here.

“It was a pen and pencil, and pounds, shillings and pence.

“I like to think it’s a place where people can come and have a sit down and a cup of tea and a chat.

“The community - that’s the most important thing.

“I don’t class them as just customers. They are friends.”

To commemorate five decades as postmistress, Great and Little Preston Parish Council presented Marjorie with an engraved silver plate on behalf of the community.

A surprise party was also held at the nearby New Inn, with around 80 guests.

Getting teary-eyed, Marjorie added: “I want to say a big thank you to the community.

“It was wonderful to see everybody there.

“It is not the gifts or cards that are important – it’s nice to know that everybody is there for you.”

Chairman Ian Wallace said: “Marjorie is a friend to everybody.

“For the last 10 years, since the residents’ warden for the elderly left, Marjorie has taken it upon herself to keep an eye on older people around here.

“She makes sure they have got everything they need and makes frequent calls to vulnerable people who are living on their own.

“This is the only shop we have got, so it is the hub of the village.”

During her time as postmistress, the building on St Aidans Road has been targeted by armed robbers three times.

On one occasion, Marjorie was pushed to the floor, but the last two ordeals resulted in arrests and jail time.

Earlier this week, West Yorkshire Police gave Marjorie a commendation award for her dedication to community service, bravery and resilience in the face of armed criminals.

She added: “It is just part of life.

“They have never got away with a lot of money, so I think I have been lucky.”

Speaking about her plans for the future, Marjorie said: “I want to carry on as long as I can.

“Who knows how long that will be.

“I don’t think it will be another 50 years, though.”

Marjorie moved to the area to take up the Post Office job shortly after marrying husband Jeffrey in September, 1963.

They had three children before Jeffrey passed away on April 1, 1986.

Son Andrew Goldthorpe, 49, said: “It’s fantastic that’s she been working here for 50 years. She’ll never pack it in.

“She’s looking after people and that is all she wants. But she doesn’t realise that she’s older than some of the people she’s looking after, though!”

Describing his mum, Andrew added: “She’s top of the range.

“She’s the best, without a shadow of a doubt.

“She is kind, thoughtful and willing to do anything for anybody.”

He added: “They love her to bits here. If they have got a problem, they come to see her – whether it’s a death in the family, losing their Post Office card or form filling, she will help them with it.”