OFFSIDE!

PUBLISHED: 02:01 02 June 2008 | UPDATED: 09:06 10 June 2010

A red card protest at Exmouth's only threatened Post Office has told the government: Take your hands OFF our branch." Now demonstrators will begin a week-long vigil outside the St Andrews Road branch as they bid to sign up the town in support of their

A red card protest at Exmouth's only threatened Post Office has told the government: "Take your hands OFF our branch."Now demonstrators will begin a week-long vigil outside the St Andrews Road branch - as they bid to sign up the town in support of their campaign. Residents from Exmouth Quay and across the seafront have backed sub-postmaster Don Arscott's fight to retain his branch - one of four in East Devon on a closure hit list.Campaigners - led by Quay Residents' Association official and former Birmingham Post editor Ian Dowell MBE - hope to use a public consultation to save the branch.Mr Dowell said: "I have been swamped with calls since the Journal story last week - some in tears."The red cards were a signal for the post office to stop the madness. We will begin our vigil - and people who think this is a lost cause should remember Churchill in 1940. If he had thought that way we would now be run by Germans."The potential closure has upset many elderly and vulnerable residents.David Stoy, who suffers from agoraphobia and lives in sheltered housing at nearby St Andrews House, said: "If I had to go to the main post office in the town centre every week, I would have to arrange for an escort."The queues at the Magnolia Centre are already bad enough." He feared people forced to use the Magnolia Centre post office would also shop in the centre - threatening small shops. "It is only a small step from the closure of post offices to losing corner shops," said Mr Stoy.Morton Crescent neighbourhood watch co-ordinator Mary Mason added: "There are 80 flats and two hotels in my area, and a lot of us are elderly. "This closure would affect everyone in quite a wide catchment area - many people are devastated."Mr Arscott - who thanked customers and nearby residents for their support - has run the branch for more than two decades. He was awarded a certificate of valour in 1999 after bravely setting off an alarm to foil robbers who appeared to be carrying a gun.l Mr Dowell has called on all townsfolk to head to St Andrews Road to put pen to paper in support in the "lifeline" post office. Campaigners will be outside the Post Office from Monday, June 2, to Friday, June 6, between 9am and 5pm.

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