AFTER 61 years behind the counter it is the last delivery for Britain's longest-serving postmistress.

Problems dealing with her computer have finally forced Esther Brauer to close Kylesku Post Office in Sutherland - which she runs from an 8ft x 6ft wooden shed, believed to be the smallest in Scotland.

In a career that has spanned seven decades, the 83-year-old also saw the introduction of postcodes and the internet - and it is the web which has proved her final undoing.

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Now Esther's retirement on May 19 - and her "outstanding" dedicated service - is to be recognised by the Scottish Parliament.

Last year Esther received a Long Service Award from the Post Office and a cheque for £400.

But today she admitted that it was time to finally call it a day.

"I only posted one letter today - and that was from myself," said Esther.

"On a busy day I deal with five or six letters. Letters and stamps are my biggest workload. I expect I sell about 100 stamps in a year.

"As for pensions - the only two pensioners in Kylesku are my husband and myself. But I get lots of tourists and visitors. The other day one lady returned again this year and brought me boxes of chocolates - others send me Christmas cards, postcards and letters - in fact at Christmas I receive more cards from well wishers who have come to my post office than I send out from the community.

"I don't have a lot of customers now but I've got to know them all as friends. There are only nine adult residents in Kylesku but there's fair number of seasonal hotel staff.

"I love my job and I am very sad to give it up. But I have had terrible trouble with my computer lately. Engineers have come out and it seems terribly slow at sending things out.

"A nice lady came from the Post Office and said 'do you want to retire?' And I simply said 'yes'."