A rammy has been caused over a decision to close the ‘world’s smallest’ Post Office at Loch Ness.
Until her death in May, Lily King, who was 72, ran the tiny Post Office for 26 years from a 4ft by 7ft broom cupboard in her ex-husband’s home.
It claimed the title of the UK’s smallest Post Office and was once dubbed the world’s smallest.
Although her ex-husband Norrie Donald – a former Highland councillor – would have been happy for someone else to take it on at his home in Strath Gardens, soon after she died in May the Post Office decided it could not continue there.
Mr Donald, 89, said they overlooked the fact that Lily’s assistant was still operating the small counter and several members of the community were potentially willing to put themselves forward to run it after she passed on.
Don’t darken my doorway
And now, he is refusing to allow officials back into his home to collect the safe and other equipment unless they acknowledge her 26 years of exemplary service.
Mr Donald is requesting some kind of posthumous employee financial award for his ex-wife and says any settlement be put towards the cost of her headstone.
He said: “A man from the Post Office turned up the other day and I told him ‘do not come up those steps any further, I do not want you in my house. You removed those rights as soon as you closed the Post Office’.”
He said: “Soon after Lily died an official just walked in and said ‘the Post Office is shut from right now’ – and I have a witness to that effect.
“There was no consultation with me or any other member of the community.
“There was also no warning. The Post Office did not say to me at any time that they were considering shutting it down before that day.
“But he was quite dogmatic about it, ‘we’re not going to re-open, that’s it finished’.”
Mr Donald added: “There was someone running the Post Office on Lily’s behalf and he was really good And there were other people that Lily had in mind that would continue if she couldn’t, but they wouldn’t entertain it.
“It was the stubbornness of the decision that I object to, without any consultation. It was closing and that was the end of the story. I told him I was used to people coming in, but Lily did this for 26 years and she would not be happy at all, she would have felt the way they handled it was really disrespectful to the community.”
Mr Donald said that he was still open to having a dialogue with the Post Office about retaining the counter.
“It’s not about the money,” he said. “I never cared about that. This is about the community suffering. Why is it always coming down to communities having to suffer because of decisions made my people who don’t even stay in the community?”
A Post Office spokesman said: “Following the sad death in service of our popular postmistress, Lily King, who had run Dores Post Office for the past 26 years, the service has had to close in the community on a temporary basis.
“We are working hard to restore Post Office services to Dores as soon as possible and we hope to be able to share good news with the community in the near future.
“We apologise for any inconvenience caused by the temporary closure. In the interim the nearest alternative branches are Drumblair, Kinmylies, Inverness and Merkinch.”