Barefoot march - a scorcher!

July 5, 2008 12:00 AM

Lib Dem Councillors and members of the public waggle their toes in protest at the closure of Buersil Post OfficeBarefoot march - a scorcher!

Over a hundred people turned out for the most unusual two mile post office protest ever in Rochdale. Many of the participants went 'barefoot' despite the scorching weather conditions.

Postmaster Jay Patel led the march alongside local Councillors Dale Mugrew and Pat Colclough bringing the whole of the Buersil area coming to standstill. Mothers with their children, pensioners and dozens of local people gave their verdict on what they say is a disgraceful decision.

Jay Patel said: "This march went better than I could ever have expected. It was a bit painful but nothing to the pain that would be felt by hundreds of people if they close our post office.

"Leanne Wild, our popular Manageress even dressed her dog up to take part.

"I would like to thank everyone for their support and ask them to come and have their voices heard at a Township Meeting at Rochdale Town Hall on Wednesday night.

"Our area is a sea of 'Save our Post Office' posters and we are grateful for all the messages of support.

"Please don't leave it to others - sign our petition, write to the consultation team and display your posters."

Dale Mulgrew said: "I was a little bit like a cat on a hot tin roof! It was worth it though and the colourful procession showed the strength of feeling in our area against this potential closure is enormous. We passed out posters to passing motorists who beeped their car horns to show their support. At one point the whole area came to a standstill. It was a good natured protest with a serious message - we are fighting tooth and nail to save this vital community facility."

Rochdale MP Paul Rowen said: "Protests like this are springing up across the country. This is the first one I know of in barefeet. Here in Rochdale, four post offices are threatened with closure and it's clear from the many meetings and protests we've had that people cannot believe what is going on.

"Jay Patel is an award-winning, popular postmaster who provides more than just postal services. His friendship and the fact that he goes the extra mile is reflected in the popularity of our campaign.

"We were pleased to have organised this and we will continue to do everything possible to save this and other post office services in Rochdale."

Speaking on behalf of the Conservative group, Councillor Ann Metcalfe said: ""I was delighted by the number of residents and customers who joined us in the march at such short notice. The turnout was tremendous. Jay certainly knows how to rally his troops!!

"It is time people in distant offices were made aware our communities should not be treated as statistics in a number game. These proposed closures are far reaching and if implemented will certainly affect many peoples lives, their well being and in many cases their livelihoods.

"We will do all we possibly can to retain Post Offices which are under threat in our area.

"If this campaign is to be at all successful it needs the full backing of all three political parties."

The protest group now plan to lobby Councillors at a meeting of the Rochdale Township at Rochdale Town Hall next Wednesday at 5.30pm. They are making banners and will speak to Councillors at the meeting.

The Lib Dem Cabinet has also backed the campaign to save post offices in Rochdale. At a specially called meeting of the Cabinet, the Council agreed to throw it's weight behind, and object to, the closures of seven branches across the Borough.