Calverley set to lose sub Post Office as popular couple leave

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Calverley post office curries
Waheeda and husband Asaf. Photo: Anne Akers

By Anne Akers

The family who have run Calverley Stores since 2006 are quitting in March, potentially leaving the village without a Post Office.

The announcement by Waheeda and Asaf Hussain comes as hundreds of sub postmasters pursue claims for compensation following prosecutions and losses due to the flawed Horizon computer system. The scandal was highlighted at the beginning of the year by the ITV drama Mr Bates Versus the Post Office.

Like the people featured in the drama, Waheeda had problems balancing the books through Horizon and had to make good the shortfall by borrowing money to keep the business and their home.

“It was an extremely dark and anxious period for all of us but particularly for Waheeda,” said Asaf.

The couple tried to sell the shop and Post Office a couple of times, but there was no interest. In the end, they have sold the shop, which will become a general store, leaving it to the Post Office to either find someone to run the sub Post Office or leave Calverley folk having to travel to Woodhall, Farsley or further away for services.

The announcement led to hundreds of messages of support from customers in the village and further afield. All said how sad they are that the family was leaving, but understood why. Many have stories of how Waheeda and Asaf have helped them, especially during lockdown when they looked out for the more vulnerable customers.

Waheeda calverley post office
Waheeda Hussain of Calverley Post Office

Asaf said they were grateful to all the customers for their support over the years.

“There are significant numbers who have supported us through our side ventures like the Friday Curry Nights, The Pop-Up French Bakery, and our Street Food Fridays. Most will be aware that these were necessary for us to simply survive as a business and to remain afloat.

“We have been blessed with the custom of lots of local businesses but particularly Zenith. Zenith who were originally based in the mills in Calverley. Zenith are one of the leading car leasing companies in the UK and we completed a considerable number of road taxes for them. In fact, without their business over the years we would not have survived.”

He added that the family would stay in the village for the time being.

The couple are part of the Group Litigation Order against the Post Office and among the original 555 claimants through the Justice for Sub Postmasters Alliance.

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