It was a sad occasion for the residents of south Belfast’s Lisburn Road last week as one of the areas longest standing community hubs shut its doors for the last time after over 60 years of service.
The Lisburn Road post office, located on the corner of Edinburgh Street, was told in June by the Post Office Ltd that it was to close along with nearly 100 other branches in the province as part of UK-wide restructuring of the company.
Local residents and businesses gathered in the nearby Windsor Baptist Church Hall last Wednesday to bid farewell to the McDonald family, who have managed the branch for over 30 years.
Speaking about the closure, Sam McDonald said he was “devastated for the community”.
“We campaigned hard to keep this branch open as it was something we believed in. We did it for our community who we feel deserved this service.
“This post office represented the entire community from both sides. I want to thank everyone involved in the campaign for all their hard work as we never would have imagined this would happen in all our wildest dreams.”
Local resident Jim Laverty, who led the six month campaign to keep the branch open, said the support shown for the post office and the McDonald family displayed “how much the facility meant to the community”.
“There’s a popular saying which could be applied (to the post office) — ‘they kept the rest and they closed the best’”, said Mr Laverty.
Local businessman Alfie Dean of the nearby Windsor Snooker & Recreational Club said he had been using the branch for 54 years.
“I use it every day to cash takings and get change. If I needed a cheque cashed they would do it no problem, it was such a handy service they provided,” said Mr Dean.
“I’m going to have to go back using banks now which will cost us money because of the charges.”
Local pensioner Beth Mack said she was “very upset” at the closure.
“They treated you like family every time you went in and called you by your first name,” said Ms Mack.