The post-master of a Wiltshire village has come to the rescue of a neighbouring community to save its village shop and post office from closure.

The Westwood Village Stores and Post Office was forced to shut its doors on Tuesday after attempts to keep it going fell flat.

Business owner Julian Baker has planned a move to Seaton on the East Devon coast with his wife following his decision to take early retirement.

He had negotiated a sale to a village resident and had committed to keeping the Post Office running while the prospective purchaser arranged for sub-postmaster training.

Unfortunately, the resident, David Holden, who planned to run the shop with his Ukrainian wife, pulled out of the purchase citing “many uncertainties”.

Wiltshire Times: Westwood Village Stores and Post Office

Now Samantha Baker, who runs a shop, café and Post Office at nearby Rode, has come to the rescue and has agreed to take over the business.

She is planning to lease the premises from owner Sally Vyvyan and Mr Baker will transfer the business assets to her.

In a statement, they said: “Julian is delighted to be able to announce that from Monday, 5th February Samantha Baker will be taking over Westwood Village Stores and Post Office restoring the excellent level of customer service and standards previously provided by Julian, Sara and Kayleigh. 

“Sam successfully runs Rode Village Post Office stores and café. Please join us in welcoming Sam to the village.” 


Earlier this week, a notice on the shop in Tynings Way said: “Unfortunately, despite our best efforts today to keep the shop open and trading we have been left with no options but to close the door.

“Sadly, David Holden has decided not to take on the business from Julian. Julian would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your custom, loyalty and daily banter which made the shop the hub of the community.

“Julian is currently working hard to secure a new proprietor who will run the shop in a way that you all deserve as a community.”

In his note, Mr Holden said: “Sadly, due to many uncertainties, we are unable to commit to keeping the shop open. My wife and I thank you for your support.”

While the Post Office remains closed until Monday, residents are still able to post letters using a post box outside the store from which collections are made.