Family celebrates 20 successful years

POSTMASTER Mac Patel and his wife Naina have said their business will cope with two nearby banks closing.

Mr and Mrs Patel celebrated their 20th anniversary at Rose Green Post Office on Sunday.

They have overcome several challenges in that time.

Their next one will be the loss of the Barclays and NatWest branches in March.

The banks’ customers will be able to carry out everyday transactions at the Post Office. “We will be able to cope with the extra business,” said Mr Patel.

“We have four counters in our business in all and we pride ourselves on our fast service.

“We lost a lot of our customers a few years ago to the banks because of changes to the payments system. We should now get a few of them back.”

The Post Office’s opening hours are being extended to 7.30am on Monday and Wednesday and 8am on Tuesday and Thursday-Saturday from next week to serve customers on their way to work.

Mr Patel said it was important people carried on supporting the Post Office. They only had to look at The Ship nearby for the result if they did not.

“People have to realise that they must use small independent shops for our survival,” Mr Patel said.

“After The Ship closed down, people tried very hard to stop Morrisons getting in.

“They collected thousands of signatures and lots of petitions but it was too late.

“If all those thousands of people had used The Ship, it would not have closed down. A thriving business does not shut down.”

Mr and Mrs Patel, aged 55 and 54, moved to Rose Green from Trowbridge, in Wiltshire, where Mr Patel worked for the food company Bowyers.

They wanted their own business and their two daughters, now aged 22 and 25, helped them to run the Post Office when they were growing up, as well as a dedicated team of staff.

The couple’s dedication has earned them the best Post Office in the south east award once, as well as being the runner-up twice.

They have also won two Observer awards.