Pensioner banned from post office told ‘it’s a mistake’

Beth Wakefield
Beth Wakefield

A disabled pensioner who was banned from her local post office on ‘health and safety’ grounds because of her mobility scooter has now been told that she is not barred after all.

Seventy-nine-year-old Beth Wakefield was outraged and complained to officials when she was told to leave Horsham Post Office because her disability buggy was ‘too big.’

Officials insisted that if space were restricted “mobility scooter users may not be allowed to enter the branch with their mobility scooter, this is to ensure the health and safety of all our customers.”

Horsham Post Office moved from its town centre premises in the Carfax to inside the WH Smith store in Swan Walk last March - amid a number of public protests that the store was too small to cope with extra post office customers.

Beth, who lives at Jasmine Court, relies on her scooter to get about. She has osteoarthritis and is unable to stand for more than a few minutes at a time, or walk very far unaided.

The County Times first highlighted Beth’s plight earlier this month and national media also took up her case.

Now this week, in a surprise U-turn, the Post Office has said Beth is once more welcome at Horsham Post Office. “They have said it was all a horrible mistake,” said Beth.

In a letter to her, Post Office customer service adviser Lyndsy Green said she wanted to follow up previous correspondence and ‘apologise for any confusion.’

She told Beth: “I’d like to reassure you that you are absolutely not banned in any way from our Horsham branch - our colleagues there would be happy to welcome you back at any time to serve you.”

She added that even if there were space restrictions “we always strive to provide our customers with the best possible service and will make arrangements to serve customers such as yourself elsewhere in the branch.” She added that she hoped Beth “would feel welcome to visit the Post Office at any time.”

Beth herself said: “I think I have won the battle, but not the war. Most of the town would like to see the Post Office back in its original position. What is it going to be like where it is at Christmas?”