It is detected that Javascript is turned off in your web brower. Please turn it on to load the page correctly. For more reference about how to turn it on, please refer instructions how to enable JavaScript in your web browser.

Christine Donnelly's column: Don't be afraid to talk to someone

Apr 4, 2024 |


Some 20 years back we had a violent robbery at our post office, there was a period where I did not know if my husband was dead or alive. At the time, with the support of customers, friends and neighbours I thought I had got over it relatively quickly.

It wasn’t until six months later when I took a phone call from the police to say that they had the robbers in custody that I felt the most enormous relief. It was then I realised how much constant tension I had been carrying inside - it felt like one of those statues encased in rock, as the rock crumbles and falls away.

I was reminded about this by the ITV drama Mr Bates vs the Post Office which brought back all those feelings. The Inquiry, led by Sir Wynn Williams, which addresses the same subjects but from a statutory standpoint, brings back similar memories and emotions.

The final stages of the Inquiry, which start very soon may well be the most dramatic and for many postmasters, past and present, will bring back powerful memories and emotions but yours may not bring the closure that I had.

We are all too aware of the suffering of those prosecuted, but we also need to be aware of those who covered losses, whilst doubting their abilities; and being suspicious of family members; staff; or customers.

Even that pit of the stomach drop, when a big discrepancy comes up at the end of TP - it might only be a decimal point out of place, that we see when we do the walk away test, but we still know how it feels and it can be every bit as triggering.

There is also that doubt about people in authority, who we trusted, which in turn makes us question our ability to judge people.

There is a difficult period ahead but there is help available. Although friends and family are there and will want to help, sometimes outside, independent, and unbiased help may be the better option. Don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor, they may be able to offer both short-term and longer-term help, advice and referrals. There is no shame in prescribed medication, and it is effective for some.

Don’t forget to look at those around you. We may be in charge and ultimately liable for our businesses but that doesn’t mean that others are not affected. They may even be feeling guilty for not supporting you more.

Don’t be surprised if you find yourself being more emotional than normal.

Sharing can be very cathartic too for some of us. Your colleagues within the NFSP are there for you.

Recognise too that you may be affected, even if you joined more recently or never have had a misbalance.

The NFSP partner Health Assured can provide you with access to well-being resources. For their free helpline call 0800 028 0199 and quote HA174638 or to find out more visit HERE

Post Office also offers Wellbeing resources on the Post Office Ltd website. See

Kind regards,

Christine Donnelly

North Thames and East Anglia Non-Executive Director