Image above: Strand on the Green Post Office; image Google streetview
Postmistress has seen off robbers and weathered the pandemic
Strand on the Green postmistress Mrs Daksha Joshi BEM has retired, after forty years running the sub-post office next to the primary school. It is unclear whether the shop will reopen as a Post Office under new management.
The popular postmistress, originally from Gujarat, moved to the UK from India in 1980 with her husband Dilip and son, Milan, who was then aged two. They found Strand on the Green School while looking for a primary school for him, and noticed the post office next to it was up for sale.
Dilip died in 1990, whcn Milan was just 12, and Mrs Joshi was left to run the post office by herself. She is fortunate not to have fallen victim to the faulty accounting software, Horizon, but she was robbed, twice.
On one of those occasions she witnessed a robber put a gun to her customer’s head. She considered giving the post office up, but was persuaded not to by members of the local community, who had also been very supportive also when her husband died.
She kept the post office open as long as she could during Covid, finally closing it in April 2020. Her son Milan published a notice saying:
‘Last week I think her post office was the only post office open in the whole of West London. As a result she was extremely busy and she stayed open long after the official closing time in order to help all customers. Unfortunately this has taken a toll on her health. She needs to be very careful given her underlying condition.’
It is ill health which has finally forced her to retire.
Mrs Joshi was awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) in 2013, after being nominated by Robert Colvill, former Chairman of the Strand on the Green Association, and Julia Korner. She was included in the New Years Honours List of 2013 and given her medal by Sir David Brewer, then Lord-Lieutenant of Greater London.
The Strand on the Green Association (SoGA) have released the following statement:
“Many of you will already know the sad news that Mrs Joshi has had to retire from the Post Office at the end of January, due to extreme ill health. Strand on the Green Association has sent some flowers to Mrs Joshi, before the end of January.
“This was on behalf of all our community, as a ‘thank you’ for all the many services and kindnesses she has given to our community over so many years. Several members have expressed the wish to give Mrs Joshi something more permanent as a thank you for the extraordinary service she has given, over such a long time.
Another fundraiser from local residents
Local resident Ruth Gandhi has also organised a collection page with the aim of raising enough money to buy a bench, with a plaque, to go outside the Post Office ‘and perhaps a local picture of Strand on the Green’.