A MARRIED couple who have run a South Tyneside Post Office for more than 20 years are preparing for life on the other side of the counter.
Alan and Carol Riddell have worked in East Boldon Post Office in Front Street, for 21 years but are retiring next month.
On February 12 they will open up the shop they love for the last time before handing over the reins to someone else.
As well as working at the Post Office, sub-postmaster Mr Riddell and his wife, both 61, have lived next door throughout their time there, but will now be moving to Hylton Castle in Sunderland.
Mr Riddell said: “We’ve had a great time here and we feel like we know everyone in the village.
“Everyone has been so kind to us since they’ve found out we’re retiring, and we really appreciate all the kind words.
“Living next door has been lovely and we’re going to miss everyone. It will be very strange not living here and not coming into work every day but we’re ready for a change and a rest.”
The couple who have two daughters, Jessica and Joanne and three grandchildren, Bethany, 10, Charlie and Lewis, both six, are looking forward to spending some time with their family.
Mr Riddell added: “We’ve seen our customers’ little ones grow up over the years and we now want to spend some time looking after our own grandchildren and watching them grow up.
“We’d like to say thank you to everyone who has made us feel so welcome over the last 21 years.”
From February 12, Edward Vardy will take over from Mr Riddell as sub-postmaster and the couple wish him all the best.
Mr Riddell said: “We hope he’s as happy here as we have been. I’m sure our customers will make him very welcome.”