A POST Office manager who has worked for the company for 44 years is “reluctantly hanging up her date stamp”.

Dianna Longney, known as Di, shut up shop at The Hexagon’s office, in Salisbury Road, on Saturday after ten-and-a-half years at the branch, having worked at branches in Tidworth, Bridge Street, River Way and Salisbury since 1974.

The great-grandmother received flowers, gifts and even a handmade felt brooch from one customer as she said her farewells.

Di said: “It has been very emotional.

“I’m really grateful to my past and present colleagues and mostly to the customers because they have made my work not seem like work.

“I just want them to know how grateful I am and how much I’m going to miss them all.”

The Edgar Close resident started at the Tidworth branch and after being invited by Robert Shaw Porter, a big town name of the time to work in the post office he had just bought.from then on the 75-year-old experienced lots of “crazy days” from a bomb squad response to a parcel left on a step to “hippies” accompanied by police getting their cash for Summer Solstice.

The “Devonshire girl” also faced rockier moments of age discrimination policies forcing her to step down as manager at 60, and having a popular colleague forced to leave due to wrongdoings.

Having left school at 16-years-old, Di originally trained to be a nurse before marrying and starting a family quickly, which she said made it difficult to go back to nursing.

Di added: “When I left school I wanted to be a nurse, it is people isn’t it? it’s a service, Making people happy and seeing people. Nursing is caring, talking, the job in the post office is similar in a way.

“There’s people I serve now who were children when I was in River Way and they have now grown up and got children of their own. It’s lovely.”

While times have changed for Di, such as using pencil to balance the books, new systems and not knowing customer’s full names anymore, her favourite bit is still meeting the customers.

She said: “I had a customer whose husband had just passed away and I went out of my box and gave her a hug. You do get to know people. I know someone who lives at Picket Piece who goes to Salisbury Road post office, she lost her husband she took it really hard, I always ask her how she’s doing.”

Next up Di’s attention is going on her garden and spending more time with daughters Susan and Amanda.

Despite that, she says the post office knows “if they need cover for sick or holiday work, I will go!”