Rural Hero award for Haughley postmistress Heather Cooper

Heather Cooper of Haughley Post Office has won the 'Rural Hero Award'.

Heather Cooper of Haughley Post Office has won the 'Rural Hero Award'. - Credit: Archant

A Suffolk postmistress has received a prestigious award for her tireless work in the community she serves.

Heather Cooper, who single-handedly runs Haughley post office six days a week, was presented with the Countryside Alliance’s ‘rural hero’ award at Parliament.

Alongside running the post office, she also finds time raise funds for local causes, including Haughley Pre School and the Anthony Nolan Bone Marrow Trust. Every Christmas she writes response letters from Father Christmas to the children in reply to their requests every year

Tim Bonner, Countryside Alliance’s chief executive, told more than 200 guests: “We don’t present a rural hero award every year, but every now and then we meet someone through the awards who is so much more than their shop or business that we want to honour them individually.

“‘Always smiling’, ‘a heart of gold’, ‘deserves a medal’ – these are just some of the things villagers had to say about their village shop-keeper, Heather Cooper.”

Mr Bonner called Mrs Cooper “a force of nature” and said when judges visited she had spent the evening before making sausage rolls for their visit, with extra for the villagers. That same night she had visited an elderly neighbour and done her washing and ironing for her.

Mr Bonner added: “The judges lost count of the number of people who came to tell them how much Heather means to them and how kind she is.”

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Mrs Cooper received a certificate and a special bottle of House of Commons Champagne, signed personally by Prime Minister David Cameron.

Mrs Cooper said: “The day was absolutely awesome.

“I don’t think that, apart from getting married and having my children, I’ve had a better day.”

Mrs Cooper was a finalist in the post office category, but when she didn’t win she thought the day was over.

“I was talking and my brother told me to be quiet because they were talking about me!

“It’s a one-off, I may never go back to Parliament again. Hopefully it will be a day that stays with me for the rest of my life.

“Thanks to all my loyal customers. They are like one extended family to me. If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t have got the award.”

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