Sunday, 19 September 2021

Village Post Office given a face lift

THE post office and general stores in Binfield Heath have been refurbished at a cost of £20,000

THE post office and general stores in Binfield Heath have been refurbished at a cost of £20,000.

Sharon and Gavin Caple, who have run the shop in Dunsden Way for seven years, received a £15,000 grant from the Post Office’s community grant scheme towards the cost of the work.

They were also supported by Lord Phillimore and his company Coppid Farming Enterprises, Binfield Heath Parish Council and Toad Hall garden centre.

More than 100 people attended the official unveiling on Friday when Lord Phillimore cut the ribbon.

Visitors gathered outside and enjoyed food and drink provided by Orwells restaurant in Shiplake, Gabriel Machins butchers in Henley and the Loddon Brewery in Dunsden.

Sarah Strong of Cotterill’s had made a cake in the shape of a letter to mark the occasion.

Mrs Caple said: “We can’t express how humbled and touched we are by everyone who has contributed to this. I’m blown away and overwhelmed by it all. Binfield Heath is such a beautiful place to live and the community is amazing.

“The post office was rundown and although the work has only been finished a few days we’ve already seen an increase in sales.”

Lord Phillimore said: “This is an extremely exciting occasion. A few years ago these types of stores were being threatened but we have a wonderful couple running it who have put in a great deal of work over the years. I’m delighted to be here.”

Henley MP John Howell, who also attended the ceremony, said: “This is a major achievement for Binfield Heath and has brought so much life to the shop.

“Sharon and Gavin are quite fantastic. It’s great to see that the income for the shop has already gone up and I hope it continues.”

The shop has been refurbished internally and has a new front with picnic tables and baskets offering fresh fruit and vegetables.

Tom Moran, general manager of the Post Office, said: “This is genuinely the most beautiful and picturesque post office I’ve ever been to.

“We support post offices throughout the country but especially in small villages like this. This post office was in a bit of trouble and now it’s at the heart of the community and doing well.”

Meanwhile, an old red telephone box has been installed in Binfield Heath.

The parish council and village society, which spent £2,500 on the kiosk, want to fit it with a defibrillator, books and plants.

The George VI model, dating from between 1936 and 1952, was also unveiled in Shiplake Row by Lord Phillimore on Friday.

Local builder Dave Tyler laid the foundations for free.

Parish council chairman Paul Rollason said: “The last box wasn’t very nice and wasn’t really used before it disappeared.

“We decided that it would be nice restore a phone box to the village and have it back in its rightful position. This has been funded by the village.”

There are also plans to install solar panels and a wireless router in the kiosk.

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