An Ashton Hayes woman is marking 30 years of service running the village post office.

And although this time her celebration didn’t involve a trip to Buckingham Palace as it did when she was make an MBE in 2011, Helen Rimmer was happy to collect her latest award closer to home.

Helen, who received the prestigious accolade for services to the community in the Queen’s Birthday Honours three years ago, started the Post Office branch in her own home in the of Ashton Hayes back in 1984.

In 2002, she even had her garage converted to provide a larger and more secure location.

Over the years, she has overseen the launch of the Ashton Hayes Timebank, which allows villagers to swap time to help each other out.

For example, if a villager needs help mowing their lawn, they could offer to do someone else’s ironing instead.

And during the winter months, the service also provides ‘Snow Angels’ who are happy to clear paths and driveways of snow.

Helen said: “Having this help to hand means that elderly and vulnerable members of our community are better able to stay in their homes rather than having to move into residential care.

“For me, this community service is the best part of the job.”

“Between the well-stocked shop that joins the Post Office we have all the everyday goods and services people need, saving them from regular journeys out of the village.”

And of course there have been a number of technological changes Helen has had to get used to since opening back in 1984.

“I remember a time when bookkeeping was a manual operation, with the weekly balance taking as much as a full day to prepare,” she added.

“Now with our Horizon computer systems this time has been cut to an hour or two, which is much less painful!”

Helen, who hopes to go on serving the village as subpostmaster ‘as long as my brain works’, received her long service award from Sally Turner, field change adviser for the Post Office, who said: “Helen’s dedication is truly an inspiration – it’s the kind of commitment that the Post Office is so proud of.

“We want to congratulate Helen on three decades of service to Ashton Post Office and in particular for her tireless efforts to support the vulnerable in her local community.”