THE owner of a Gwent family-run post office which has closed after more than 80 years has been thanked by crowds of villagers.

More than 40 people from Markham, near Blackwood, came to see 69-year-old Sandra Carpenter shut the post office doors for the last time on Wednesday, August 13.

The post office, on Abernant Road, was built by Mrs Carpenter’s grandmother in 1928 and has been in the family ever since.

Mrs Carpenter, who has been post mistress for nearly 45 years, wanted to retire from the post office several years ago but had hoped to find someone to carry the business on.

The post mistress, who has four great-grandchildren, said: “It’s a big wrench and I am quite emotional about it.

“I’ve seen different generations come into the post office and have seen them grow up. It’s an end of an era. But my customers are my friends as well. I can’t thank them enough.”

In 1945 Mrs Carpenter’s father was demobilised from the army and returned to run the post office, before his wife took up the helm in 1970.

Mrs Carpenter began working at the shop when her father became ill in 1968 and later took over the role of post mistress in 1989.

Councillor Leon Gardiner, for Argoed ward, said: “She is part of the village and as a local councillor I’m very sad. I’ve been living there all my life people in the area depend on this post office.”

The villagers wrote a message of thanks to Mrs Carpenter and said the post office has been at the centre of the community from the beginning.

The message read: “You have been a friend and confidant to so many and have always been helpful and kind to all. There is much respect for you as a post mistress and even more love your as a person.”

Mrs Carpenter, who turns 70 in November, said she has been assisted by two loyal staff who have worked with her for more than 10 years.