Gill became Bilsby Postmistress 40 years ago

Postmistress Gill Marsh took on her first Post Office in 1984 alongside her fuel station and convenience store in the village of Bilsby, where she was born and bred.

This worked well and Gill Marsh Forecourts Ltd then took on Partney Post Office in 2002, also in a village and a fuel station and convenience store – the only shop in the village.

A sister company that Gill co-owns, Tag Retail Ltd, then took on two more Lincolnshire Post Offices at Alford in 2019 and Nunsthorpe in 2022.

Today, Gill is a silent partner with both businesses and Managing Director Tom Dant is the main driving force and runs both companies on a day-to-day basis.

Later this year, Mablethorpe Banking Hub, with representatives of all the major high street banks, will open in Mablethorpe. It will also be operated by Tag Retail Ltd.

Gill’s first Post Office, Bilsby, was fully refurbished as part of the redevelopment of the filling station and shop.

MD, Tom Dant, said: “The best thing about running the Post Offices and shops is being an important part of the community. People rely on us. With Bilsby and Partney, everything is on the one site – the fuel, the Post Office and shop selling everything from groceries and newspapers.

“These two are community branches at the heart of these communities. There are large elderly populations and we provide an important point of contact and the staff may at these stores may be the only person that they have seen all week. We help to combat isolation and we keep an eye out for more vulnerable customers, or when someone has suffered bereavement we want to support people. This doesn’t benefit the finances of the company, but we do it as we really care about our customers.

“Alford is a bigger Post Office branch and Nunsthorpe, which we took over from Lincolnshire Co-op is our biggest Post Office, which offers the widest range of Post Office services.

“During the pandemic, the three Post Offices that we had then, all remained open as people needed vital Post Office services and groceries. People wanted to stay local and they were very grateful that these stores remained open. Mails work went through the roof as people were sending parcels to people that they could not see, home shopping returns and having a good clear out and selling things on ebay and other sites.

“Banking is becoming more and more important as so many bank branches have closed. We have become the bank with people doing their personal and business banking. With Bilsby and Partney, banking now accounts for 60 per cent of our Post Office remuneration.

“We are really looking forward to opening the first Banking Hub in Lincolnshire, later this year and we will be share more details soon.”

A Post Office 40 Years’ Long Service Award has been presented to Gill Marsh.

Post Office Area Manger, Ady Tomes, said: “I really want to thank Gill for taking on her first Post Office as Bilsby four decades ago as Postmistress. This proved to work so well, that Gill’s companies went on to operate Partney, Alford and Nunsthope, maintaining vital Post Office services to so many Lincolnshire communities. It’s going to be an exciting year with the opening of Maplethorpe Banking Hub too. Gill’s companies that she set up are very community-minded and have allowed for Post Office and shops to remain at the heart of their communities.”

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