NEW BEGINNINGS: Diane Crossley inside the former nursery building in Gainford she can’t wait to turn into the village’s post office
NEW BEGINNINGS: Diane Crossley inside the former nursery building in Gainford she can’t wait to turn into the village’s post office

A community spirited dale woman says she is relishing the challenge in turning a former nursery building into the “beating heart of the village” by turning it into a post office. Reporter Nicky Carter caught up with her

SINCE starting a petition to save the Gainford’s post office from closure, Diane Crossley, who worked closely with former post mistress Anne Pratt for five years before her death, says she has been inundated with support.

The post office closed in July when long time post mistress Mrs Pratt, who ran it for 40 years from her home, became ill. She died in September.

Since then Mrs Crossley has been working behind the scenes to get it back up and running and is waiting to start renovation work on the former nursery building at St Osmund’s Church, in the Main Road.

Ms Crossley said: “It’s really been quite humbling how many people have been in touch. The people at the Catholic Church got in touch with me and generously offered the building.

“I started the ball rolling with the Post Office. I did a business plan with three-year costing and I don’t have any experience of that, but they were impressed.

“There is a lot of work to do and while we wait for the contract from the Post Office I can’t get started, but I’m taking the time to relax as I know it’s going to be manic when we do start.”

She explained that although she will receive a commission from the Post Office she won’t be getting paid a wage so she will have put the space to good use. As well as providing post office counter services she will have a range of postcards and statioery for sale. She also hopes to run a cafe serving hot drinks as well as cakes and biscuits.

She added: “I was maybe a little optimistic in getting things up and running for December and I’m hopeful we can be open for January. I know from working with Anne, when people brought back returns some of them didn’t have the equipment to print labels, so I hope to have some computers here as well along with a printer.”

Ms Crossley explained while the exterior work will be carried out by the Catholic Church and the Post Office will fit the counter she will have to arrange much internal decoration work herself and is hoping to call on anyone willing to assist.

She said: “There’s lots that will need to be done from decorating to floor polishing and if anyone has any old china tea cups and saucers they no longer want, it would be great to be able to put them to good use.”

“I want to make the place the hub of the village and have people pop in for a coffee or a chat.”