A couple are set to retire after 41 years in charge of a post office.

Manharlal Patel, postmaster at Romford Post Office on Victoria Road, and wife Vimla are retiring after more than four decades at the helm, it was announced yesterday (August 2).

Watching children grow into adults has been a career highlight, said Manharlal, 81.

"I remember mums coming in with their children to collect their family allowance and now those children have grown up and they have children of their own," Manharlal said.

"I know everyone in this community after being here so long and you enjoy chats with the customers."

Manharlal and Vimla, who have run the post office since 1982, have their final day on August 21.

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The couple took over the post office after Manharlal left his career in banking aged 40.

Now a buyer has been found, the couple feel it is the right time to retire.

Christine Moore, Romford born and bred, said she has been using the post office for decades and will miss the couple.

"I have been using that post office since 1987 and they will both be missed, but [they] deserve to have time to enjoy their retirement," Christine said.

Mick Norman, Manharlal’s area manager for nearly 30 years, added that he wanted to thank him and Vimla for their long, dedicated service to the community.

"They will be greatly missed," he said. "I am delighted that there is a new postmaster taking over, which allows them a well-earned retirement.”

But Manharlal said that he may not be gone for good and could return on a temporary basis.

“I am not sure what to do with my extra time when I retire, I might provide holiday cover in post offices."

A new postmaster is renovating the shop which will take around two and a half weeks to complete, the post office said.

The Victoria Road branch is due to re-open at 1pm on September 7.

For now, customers can use Romford Post Office at The Liberty or Brentwood Road Post Office.

A convenience store is being added alongside the refurbished Victoria Road post office.