50 years ago this week: Friday, March 16, 1962

IF there is one person who is well-known to practically every householder in Shilbottle and well-liked by the mining community there, its amiable Mrs Ella Queen.

Wife of an equally well-known retired Shilbottle miner, Mrs Queen was village postwoman for nearly 12 years until she retired at the end of January this year.

Now the villagers to whom she delivered the mail for so long have the opportunity of expressing their thanks in a tangible way, for Shilbottle Parish Council is organising a testimonial to mark her retirement.

The fund closes on March 23.

Mrs Queen is the longest-serving postwoman, or postman, the village has had. She held the job – a part-time one – for exactly 11 years and eight months and in that time covered something like 20,000 miles.

She first made the rounds in 1950 when her husband, Walter, retired after 51 years at the local colliery.

“We needed the money to make my husband’s pension spin out,” said Mrs Queen.

It also enabled them to save a little money to make alterations to their semi-detached house in Ashfield Terrace, which is now a cosy, well-furnished house. Mrs Queen liked the life of a postwoman but has no regrets now that she has retired.

“I enjoyed the job and made many friends on my rounds.

“Now that we have got what we wanted I’m quite happy,” she added.

By and large, her rounds have generally been free of incident although she remembers quite vividly the two occasions she was bitten by a dog.

Mr and Mrs Queen – he’s 76 and his wife 58 – have five children, two sons and three daughters.

Their children are now living in different parts of the country and one daughter, Muriel, is a domestic servant in Connecticut, America.