Fair Isle postmistress thanked for 30 years of ‘loyal service’

Fair Isle’s postmistress has been recognised for 30 years’ loyal service running the UK’s most remote post office.

Fiona Mitchell and her husband also sell groceries, household goods and provide personal and business banking services too.

Mrs Mitchell said the best thing about her job was providing essential services to the community and getting to know everyone on the island.

However, she said working with the weather can be a challenge.

“Royal Mail uses the ferry where possible but this can be delayed in winter,” she said.

“I will get a call to say there’s a break in the weather the plane will be here in 30 minutes.

“I then scoop up all the mail to get it away as soon as possible.

“The weather might then be bad for days, so you have to seize the opportunity.

“You have to learn to be flexible living here.”

Covid was another challenge – but the post office stayed open throughout the pandemic.

“We made sure that we had fewer people in the shop to allow for social distancing,” Mrs Mitchell said.

“We took lots of precautions on Fair Isle.

“Although we are a remote island, so less chance of people getting it, we couldn’t take any risks as if Covid came to the islands and people got really ill, then it was going to be very difficult to quickly evacuate people to a hospital.

“People were very good. They had testing kits and if they were positive they stayed at home, or if they were vulnerable and shielding, then they would contact us and we would leave deliveries on their doorstep and settle up later.”

As well as running the post office, Mrs Mitchell is also a retained firefighter and teacher art at the primary school

Post office area manager Louise Duff said: “Due to the remoteness of Fair Isle and the time that it would take to get there and the unpredictability of transport it’s far easier to chat on the phone.

“Fiona knows that she can always call me with any questions, but Fiona knows what she’s doing after 30 years in the role.

“Fiona and Robert are providing a great service to the people of Fair Isle and tourists too.

“I want to thank them for their long and loyal service.”


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