CHRISTMAS has come early in Fernhurst, with the welcome announcement that its Post Office service will continue in new premises nearby.

Village electrical contractor Dudman-Ward has saved the day with its offer to host the branch at its outlet in Crossfield.

Last week, the Post Office announced the move had been agreed and the relocated branch would open at 1pm on February 2, with the current Church Road service due to close at 5.30pm the day before.

A parish council spokesman said: “Our policy has been to welcome the initiative shown by Dudman-Ward in making the continuation of Post Office services in Fernhurst possible.

“The Post Office was not prepared to continue with the existing arrangements and the alternative was apparently a bi-weekly visit by a mobile van.

“The parish council wishes Dudman-Ward every success in the venture and encourages villagers to show their support by using the facility,” the spokesman added.

The future of the service has been under threat since May 2016, when the postmistress announced she would like to step down, subject to suitable alternative premises being found.

Post Office services will be provided from an open-plan counter alongside the retail counter at the electrical shop and the opening hours will be Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9am-5pm and Wednesday (9am-1pm.)

Post Office regional network manager Suzanne Richardson said: “We are making it easier for customers to get their cash, send and collect their mail and do their banking because we know how important these services are to local residents.

“We are confident this vibrant new-style Post Office at the heart of the local community will meet customer needs.

“This modernisation is part of a major investment programme, the largest in the history of the Post Office and will secure services for the future.”