Wife of Kenilworth post office manager told to reapply for job after 27 years

Carl Key, who has run Windy Arbour News' post office alongside his wife Sue for 27 years, has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. He does not have long to live and Sue has been told by the Post Office, that she will have to reapply for her job through the website, when Carl dies.''Pictured: Sue Key NNL-180808-005433009
Carl Key, who has run Windy Arbour News' post office alongside his wife Sue for 27 years, has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. He does not have long to live and Sue has been told by the Post Office, that she will have to reapply for her job through the website, when Carl dies.''Pictured: Sue Key NNL-180808-005433009

The wife of a terminally-ill post office manager who has run the business alongside him has been told she cannot automatically take over once he dies.

Couple Sue and Carl Key have jointly run Windy Arbour News in Moseley Road for the last 27 years.

But around three months ago, Carl was diagnosed with cancer of the bowel, liver and lung – and the Keys found out this was terminal four weeks ago.

They informed the Post Office of the situation as soon as they found out.

Sue also told them of her intention to fully take over the running of the post office after Carl dies.

But the Post Office have told her this is not allowed, and that she must re-apply via their website if she wants to run it.

Sue said: “They’re classing me as a family member, but I’m also a business partner.

“It’s not nice, I have to say, particularly when we’ve run it for the past 27 years.

“They’ve said they’ve done everything they possibly can - but I don’t see what the problem is. Why can’t I just jump straight in?

“Our customers know we’ve been there for 27 years, and between us we haven’t missed a day. They’ve got so much respect for me and my husband.”

When the Keys started running the post office, Carl signed to be the office’s ‘postmaster’ on his own, and Sue’s name does not appear on official records. At the time, neither of them thought this would be a problem. But Sue believes this may have contributed to the current situation.

News of the Keys’ situation concerned many people who live nearby.

And Kenilworth Town Council discussed the problem at a meeting on Thursday August 2 after Cllr Marilyn Bates (Con, St John’s) raised the issue.

She asked Kenilworth’s mayor Mike Hitchins to write to the Post Office in support of Sue.

Cllr John Cooke (Con, St John’s) said: “When this news came, I think the people particularly who use the post office down that end of town were horrified.

“It doesn’t seem fair – and it’s about fairness. We like to think that things are done fairly. We want right to be done and we want fairness to be done.”

Town mayor Cllr Mike Hitchins agreed to write a letter, and described the situation as ‘absolutely appalling.’

A Post Office spokesman said: “We are incredibly sorry to hear about Mr and Mrs Key’s situation, and they have our full empathy at this difficult time.

“We understand and appreciate how much Windy Arbour relies on this post office and we would like to thank the Key family for their long and loyal service to their community.

“We are very pleased that Mrs Key wants to continue to run Windy Arbour Post Office.

“While there is always a legal process for us to follow when transferring the position of postmaster to another person, we will do all we can to make this transition as easy and smooth as possible, and provide whatever support Mr and Mrs Key need in completing necessary process.

“Once again, we are very grateful for all they have done for Post Office, and are thinking of them at this time.”