A MOTHERWELL couple has taken over the world's oldest Post Office.

Barry Ford and his wife Mary had been living and working in Florida for the last 20 years - until they heard of the opportunity to purchase Sanquhar Post Office in Dumfries and Galloway three years ago. 

The couple returned to Motherwell looking for a business to take on and decided to become the 17th-ever operators of the Post Office, which has been officially accredited by the Guinness Book of World Records for being the oldest. 

The National:

Established in 1712, the previous 16 operators have kept it running continuously for 311 years.

As well as serving as a vital community asset, Sanquhar Post Office is a popular attraction for postal and philatelic enthusiasts from across the world. 

Many have travelled from afar to have their letters marked with a special handstamp bearing “The World’s Oldest Post Office.”

The National:

Post Office's chief executive Nick Read said: “As a nation, we should be so proud to have the world’s longest running Post Office.

"Just 16 previous operators have kept it going for more than 300 years.

"Not only does it support the wider economy by attracting tourists from all over the world, but it continues to provide everyday essential banking and postal services that local residents, like anywhere else in the country, rely on.”

Barry and Mary will be filling the boots of Nazra Alam, who ran the Post Office with her late husband Dr. Manzoor Alam, who passed away in November 2022.

Nazra has since retired and is returning home to the Midlands where she lived before she moved to Sanquhar and where her daughters and granddaughter live.

The National: Nazra Alam. Photo: Sandy Young/PA WireNazra Alam. Photo: Sandy Young/PA Wire (Image: Sandy Young/PA Wire)

Nazra said: “My husband loved history and was fascinated by the postal history of Sanquhar. He also loved philately, so we bought the business and moved to Scotland.

"The people of Sanquhar are lovely and the scenery in all directions is beautiful. Manzoor and I loved our time in Scotland, but the winters were too cold for us!

"I give my heartfelt thanks to the people of Sanquhar who have been very kind to us over the years and for their custom and banter that kept me going.

"I want to also thank our members of staff who worked with us Carol Bell, who retired at Christmas and Arlene Henderson, who is also now retiring.”

READ MORE: Glasgow nightlife set for glamorous shot in the arm

Nick added: “I want to pay tribute to Nazra and to her late husband Manzoor for running this truly historic Post Office for the past eight years.

"Nazra continued running the branch for the Sanquhar community, and the thousands of tourists who visit every year, through her grief and throughout the Covid pandemic.

"Nazra has been a remarkable Postmistress and I hope she enjoys a happy retirement surrounded by her children and grandchildren.”