Stamp of approval: Britain’s longest-serving postmistress decides to call it a day after 61 years' service
Esther Brauer, 83, has been conducting town's postal operations from an 8ft by 6ft shed in her garden
Saturday 17 May 2014
In one of the most remote parts of the north coast of Scotland Esther Brauer, 83, sits in the office at the end of her garden sorting, sealing and stamping letters.
After beginning work as a post mistress in 1953 in a post office attached to her house, she moved to a new home 31 years ago and has conducted the town’s post operations from an eight foot by six foot shed at the end of her garden ever since.
Situated in the small fishing community of Kylesku on the northern tip of Scotland her post service provides a lifeline to community who are often cut off from the rest of Britain.
However, after 61 years of service Brauer has finally decided to put down her postmistress hat and retire.
Yesterday was the last day Brauer would run operations from the shed that has been her place of work for the last three decades.
Esther, who was born in the Highlands town of Elphin, just a few miles south of Kylesku, began her work in the post office after marrying her first husband whose parents had formerly run Kylesku’s post office from their home.
After the death of her first husband, Brauer decided to marry again and became the wife of the village’s head ferryman.
That was when she moved a mile down the road to the house she lives and the shed she works from now.
"It's quite something for people to see, a post office in a shed," she said. "During the tourist season, a lot of people visit and want to see round the place."
"Also I have made a lot of friends through working here. I still get Christmas cards and postcards from around the world from people who have visited."
Yet, Brauer was not content to just sit in the her shed, up until the age of 60 she completed a 18 mile round trip daily to deliver much needed mail.
After she announced that she would retire, Brauer received a raft of good luck cards from people across the country wishing her good luck and complimenting her on the incredible job she has done over the last 60 years.
She said: "The service has been a lifeline to the community, because we are so remote. People need to collect their pensions and be able to send their mail.”
Nevertheless, she feels now is the right time to retire and enjoy the rest of her years peacefully in the picturesque highland village.
She said: “I have loved the job so continued as long as I could, but at 83 it is time to retire."
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