David Johnston, MP for Wantage, made an official visit to Shrivenham Post Office to thank Postmasters Matthew and Sarah Thorne and their team for their tireless work during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Matthew and Sarah caught the virus themselves in the early stages of lockdown. However, they and their team managed to keep open Shrivenham branch, as well as their six outreach branches at Watchfield, Ashbury, Castle Eaton, Kempsford, Poulton and Ashton Keynes.
Their part-time staff immediately helped by working overtime to increase their hours to continue to serve all of these communities that depended on these outreaches for banking, cash withdrawals, bill payments, sending mail and parcels and returning on-line shopping. These outreaches were even busier than normal as people wanted to stay local and not to travel.
David Johnston MP said: “A Post Office is an essential retailer and I really wanted to visit face-to-face to thank Sarah and Matthew and their staff for continuing to provide much needed Post Office services to Shrivenham and so many rural communities. Both Matthew and Sarah got Covid-19, but their staff rallied round to increase their hours to ensure service could be maintained and until they were well enough to return to work. This shows true community spirit and teamwork”.
Sarah and Matthew want to thank their staff – Shona, Paul, Byron and Neet, plus their teenage sons, William and Oliver – who have been busy helping with lots of lifting whilst Sarah was still recuperating from the effects of the virus.
Sarah said: “We really could not have continued to serve so many communities without all the staff offering to increase their hours. It was teamwork and my sons have also been great when I was mentally able to return to work, but physically trying to get back to full strength.
“We are all delighted that David Johnston MP took the time to come to visit us. We are flattered. We know that we work hard, but it is lovely to see that we are appreciated. We have also had lots of heart-warming cards and comments from customers thanking us for being there for them”.
Shrivenham Post Office was also highlighted by Chief Executive Nick Read in the We’re Stronger Together virtual roadshow and recognition event in July in the Better for Customers category.
The Thornes have operated the branch in High Street, Shrivenham since 2009 and they modernised and greatly enlarged the shop in 2014.