One of Britain's oldest post offices closes after 224 years in Dorset village

One of Britain's oldest post offices has closed after 224 years in the wake of stringent government cuts.  

The popular branch had served the seaside community of Charmouth in Dorset since 1795 but closed amid the 'disgraceful and illogical' modernisation of the service.

The last postmasters, Steve and Gill Pile, called it quits after Post Office Ltd, which is owned by the government, said their service had to downsize and move into another shop in the village.

The couple claimed that the coastal village of 1,300 people could sustain a full post office service, but their arguments fell on deaf ears

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The popular branch had served the seaside community of Charmouth in Dorset since 1795

Steve and Gill Pile have been forced to close the Charmouth Post Office, after 20 years at the helm

Steve and Gill Pile have been forced to close the Charmouth Post Office, after 20 years at the helm

The couple claimed that the coastal village of 1,300 people could sustain a full post office service, but their arguments fell on deaf ears.

Royal Mail launches UK's first parcel postboxes in battle against couriers 

Royal Mail is launching the UK's first ever parcel postboxes in its battle against private couriers.

The move follows a successful trial, making the first major change in the use of postboxes in 160 years, and comes after news of 2,500 potential Post Office closures.

Small businesses and other sellers will be able to post pre-paid parcels in the same way they currently send letters. Customers will also be able to return packages using the new boxes, providing they have the required barcode.

The parcel postboxes are being introduced later this year in locations across the country including Birmingham, Leeds, Aberdeen and Cardiff.

The process rumbled on for six years, with Post Office Ltd unable to find another venue, but the Piles decided they had enough of the 'shambolic process' and last week closed the doors, deciding to put their 'quality of life first'.

Charmouth is now without a post office - which also provided its only free cash point service - leaving villagers 'in tears'. 

The service is one of 1,000 post offices to have shut in recent years and experts predict up to 2,500 more will close or downsize in the next 12 months. 

On their final day, customers presented the Piles with a card signed by more than 130 people while a neighbouring estate agent threw a small party. 

Mrs Pile, 60, said: 'I believe the Post Office Ltd are trying to get something organised for it to be put into a newsagent in the autumn but we don't know if it will actually happen.

'We have been so overwhelmed with the outpouring of support from the village to us. 

'There was a steady stream of well wishers into the branch and they gave us a card with 130 signatures and bottles of whisky on our last day.

'The estate agent nearby threw a small party but we didn't want to celebrate because we don't want to rub salt into the wound.

'People have come up to us in tears saying we don't know what we're going to do now the post office is closed.

'There's a section of society who can't go out very easily and still find it very

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