Tributes paid as Stoke postmistress Jenny Clarke decides to call it a day

Sometimes local heroes are remembered for one off acts of extreme bravery or selflessness.

Other times they are just part of the community that keeps going despite all the trials of life.
These heroes are so much part of the fabric of our life, that they occasionally get over looked.

However the Stoke Traders and Residents group, Stoke STaRS, have come together, determined that this will not happen to local hero, businesswoman, and vital member of the Stoke Village community for over four decades – Mrs Jenny Clarke.

Jenny has been Postmistress in the village for an incredible 42 years, taking on the business with her husband Peter in the 1970’s.

As was the norm with small businesses like these, they moved in over the shop, and brought up their daughter, Ursula, upstairs.

Life would have been full on combining business and family on the premises, and Peter and Jenny would have been on hand at all hours, dealing with the problems and queries of local people.

In those days the local Post Office was the hub of some much activity, everything from TV Licences to pensions to dog licences to benefits. Many vulnerable people were used to visiting their post office on a weekly basis, and would have got to know the people working there very well.

Jenny, who had been both a nurse and midwife in a former life, had a way about her that meant that she quickly became a trusted confidant and friend to many local people.

The strong work ethic embodied in the family household has passed onto Jenny’s grandchildren John and Sophie, whom she is very proud of as they advance in their chosen professions.

Jenny sadly lost her husband in 2000, but continued her work in Stoke Village with the companionship of her dogs. She was an avid user of the Blockhouse Park to walk her dogs three times a day.

Locals will remember her Springer Spaniel Jay, who passed away recently, and Teddy, her Shih Tzu who still loves to trot around the park owning all he surveys.

The staff in the Post Office and shop, past and present, will miss her greatly. Trish, Debbie, Susie, Linda, Tina, Michelle and Natalie, to name but a few, understood Jenny’s decision to retire, suffering as she does from macular degeneration, – but are obviously saddened by the closure of Stoke Village Post Office.

Jenny is still looking for someone to take it on, but to date no one has come forward.
Trish Weaver, who has been working on and off in the shop part of the Post Office wanted to say, “Thank you, Jenny, for being a really good friend as well as employer.”

Other tributes are still coming through for Jenny.

Steve Bowen, Chairman of Stoke STaRS said: “Jenny was the first person to welcome me when I arrived in the Village four years ago, and remains my mentor to be a better person; thoughtful towards others and caring. “

Local resident Steve Kelly added, “Jenny’s experience and personal manner will be very hard to replace. We all wish her a very happy retirement. But hope she still remains a part of Stoke village life.”

Jenny will be ‘retiring’ to The Rise, Plympton, a housing development designed specifically for people aged over 50 with visual impairment and sight loss.

She has already found a position on the residents committee and will be serving in the community shop a few mornings a week!

More information on how to pass on thanks and appreciation to Jenny can be found on Stoke Traders and Residents Association Facebook Page or by contacting their Vice Chairman, Judithhosking54@outlook.com

First published in the Plymouth Shopper – August 2017

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