A combination of more than four decades of knowledge and experience is to be lost as two village post office stalwarts retire.
Mary Garratt, the postmistress in Long Melford for 20 years, is to leave the role and is being joined in retirement by Diana Green, who has worked at the post office in Hall Street for 25 years.
The duo’s decision to leave their jobs coincides with the anticipated takeover of the post office by Priya Sriharan, who operates the service in Clare.
Mrs Sriharan is expected to take up the role in the coming weeks, while her husband Muthiah continues to run the other store.
On Tuesday afternoon, villagers held a surprise farewell party for Mrs Garratt and Mrs Green outside the post office, to thank them for their service.
Sue Kistruck, from The Limes, paid tribute to the “splendid” work both had done over the years.
“Mary has run the post office through thick and thin and has kept it going when things were difficult,” said Mrs Kistruck, who organised the send-off.
“We have all turned up at some point with last-minute parcels and requests and she has coped with it all.”
She added that Mrs Green, who previously worked at the post office in Sudbury, would be missed for her endless knowledge.
“Diana has been a fount of information to us all and we will miss her quiet efficiency, encyclopaedic knowledge and her patience.”
Mrs Garratt, from Bull Lane, said she had enjoyed a “wonderful” 20 years.
“I am going to miss everyone,” she said. “I will miss the gossip and I will miss Diana most of all.
“It has been great working here. I like the people, it is a nice village and I have made lots of friends.”
Mrs Garratt said although the service had changed a lot over the years, it still remained an integral part of the community.
“I still haven’t got used to the idea of retiring but I am sure I will still see everyone,” she said.
Mrs Green, who lives in the Springlands estate in Sudbury, said she was looking forward to spending more time with her grandchildren.
“It has been very special working here as you are part of village life,” she said.
“It has been a huge part of my life, but now I am moving on to the next chapter.”
Mrs Sriharan is expected to take over the post office next week.