Litlington couple to retire from village post office after 30 years

PUBLISHED: 06:54 03 April 2019

Jay (left) and Kumar Balani (right), with staff Claire (second from right) and loyal customers, are retiring after 31 years running the post office/village shop in Litlington. Picture: DANNY LOO

Jay (left) and Kumar Balani (right), with staff Claire (second from right) and loyal customers, are retiring after 31 years running the post office/village shop in Litlington. Picture: DANNY LOO

©2019 Archant

A Litlington couple are retiring from running the village shop and post office after 31 years at the helm.

The post office/village shop in Litlington. Picture: DANNY LOOThe post office/village shop in Litlington. Picture: DANNY LOO

Kumar and Jay Balani have become stalwarts of the community since taking over at the shop and post office in Silver Street – which they chose to do because Jay wanted a quintessential English village way of life.

Kumar told the Crow: “My wife had a shop in Huntingdon and I was a manager in a chartered accountancy firm, and she wanted a quiet village life. It took me two years to find the shop in the perfect village. It was so peaceful and quiet.”

Kumar, 72, grew up in Shimla – which was declared the summer capital of British India in 1864 – and first came to England in 1969 with the merchant navy. His wife Jay, 71, is originally from Uganda.

Kumar said: “I have been in love with English life since I was 17 or 18 when I first went to Liverpool with the merchant navy.

“Believe it or not, I love the weather. I don’t like to be too hot, as I grew up in a cold part of India.”

Football and cricket fan Kumar and his family immersed themselves in village life when they moved to Litlington, something Kumar is passionate about.
He said: “We have been involved in many groups and the church for a long time. And we serve people not just from Litlington, but from the surrounding villages too, like Ashwell and Abington Pigotts.

“We have to keep village shops open, so many are closing down and we will lose what is at the heart of village life.

“People in Litlington took us into their hearts. The most rewarding part of running a village shop and post office is dealing with day-to-day life, and I would like to thank our lovely member of staff Claire for bringing such colour into our lives.

“I am not interested in big money – all we wanted was to live in the village. People come from out of town to move here for the postcode but they are not interested in village life – I am extremely passionate about it and after retirement we are never going to leave.”

The couple, who have two daughters, are to celebrate their retirement on Saturday, which will be their last day running the business.

Well-wishers can go in and join them for a drink from 9am until 2pm.

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