Church remembers 50 years since it ran a postal service in South Holland

A South Holland church is remembering 50 years since it set up its own postal delivery and stamps.

The Church of St Nicholas in Lutton set up the East Elloe Post during the postal strike of 1971 in a bid to raise money for a heating system.

And it worked with collection points and deliveries organised across South Lincolnshire.

Among the collection points were Watkin and Overton near Knipe’s Fish Bar in Spalding, Antiques and Curios in Fleet Hargate, Holbeach Camera Centre, Pearl’s shop in Lutton, Warrick’s stonemasons in Long Sutton and Young and Gay in Sutton Bridge which was opposite the church.

A flat rate of 2/6d was set for delivery which became 12 and a half pence when decimalisation came in mid-way through the strike that lasted from January 20 until March 8.

Reverend David Hill was aged 37 at the time and came up with the idea.

Hundreds more were set up across the country during the strike but East Elloe was one of the first and Rev Hill remembers being interviewed on television after it went live.

“Lutton Church only had a solitary coal-burning stove in the nave at the time,” he said from his Spalding home. “By the end of the strike we were able to have an oil fired boiler and radiators installed as a result of our church postal service.

“It was a gamble because if the postman had called the strike off, we would have lost out because of the Abbey Printers’ bill for printing stamps.

“However the joy of this gamble was that the strike lasted about six weeks and half way through the county went decimal so we had the stamps reprinted in the decimal system.

“The bulk of the profit was made after the strike when we sold stamps to stamp-collectors.”

A limited number of the stamps are available in aid of Lutton Church from Rev Hill. You can contact him on 01775 768912.

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