It was with deep regret that we read that the Thompson family are about to retire from West Monkseaton Post Office, (News Guardian, January 28).
It was with great misgivings that we heard our local branch of Barclays Bank in Seatonville Road was to close and the premises converted into a post office under new ownership. We were not terribly thrilled as our nearest branch of Barclays was either Whitley Bay or North Shields.
However, the conversion went ahead and in no time at all West Monkseaton post office became the hub of Monkseaton. Always busy, queues were often the norm. But as customers did we care? Not at all.
The rapport between staff and customers was second to none.
And while you queued, there was all manner of confectionery, stationery, greeting cards, locally sourced produce and unusual gifts to peruse in bright, attractive surroundings, while outdoors was a fine display of seasonal plants, hanging baskets, fir trees at Christmas, buckets and spades, beach balls and fishing nets in summer.
Regular customers were more than pleased to cast their votes for the Post Office of the Year competition and shared their delight with the staff when the branch was named Best Post Office on three occasions.
Then there were the coffee mornings and raffles when the post office positively heaved with customers to raise funds and support local charities.
The Thompson family have become very much a part of our lives and it has been a pleasure doing business with them and their pleasant staff over the past 30 years. To be greeted by name and to feel they genuinely cared about your welfare is exceptional in this hectic, busy world of ours.
So it is with heavy hearts that we wish Bill, Joan and Andrew a long and happy retirement.
We will continue to support the new postmaster/postmistress at West Monkseaton, but, believe me, the Thompsons will be a very hard act to follow.
We really will miss you.
Brian and Astrid Hymers