Widow’s dismay over Hassocks bank closure

Marie Stenning with her late husband Gordon
Marie Stenning with her late husband Gordon

A widow whose late husband was manager of Lloyds Bank in Hassocks said she was ‘quite put out’ when she heard the branch was to close.

Marie Stenning, 86, of Coopers Way, Henfield, said the closure will be a ‘great loss for Hassocks’.

Lloyds Bank in Hassocks. Picture: Google Streetview

Lloyds Bank in Hassocks. Picture: Google Streetview

Her husband Gordon worked at the branch in Keymer Road for 44 years. He was the manager there for 17 years.

Marie said: “It will be a great loss for Hassocks I am sure. I was quite put out when I heard about the closure to be honest.

“There will be no bank left in Hassocks, it is awful. I don’t do online banking. I like to go into these places and talk to to people one-to-one, it is so different now.

“When I moved to Henfield five years ago there were three banks. We had that ram raid at Barclays the other day so that one is closed at the moment.

“NatWest closes in June, so that will leave just Barclays for how long, I am not sure. The villagers are complaining.”

Gordon, who died in 2011 at aged 82, was well-known in the Hassocks community.

“Hassocks was a different place then, he was part of the village and community and became friends with his customers,” said Marie.

“It seemed to be a lot more of a village atmosphere then. He knew everybody and everyone knew him.

“It was his life and those days when you went to work at a bank, it was a career and you worked your way up.

“I have got some nice memories of being there and there will still be people there who will remember him from the old days. It seemed to change a lot after he left.

“I still miss him, I always will, you never get over these things. We were married for 58 years, this year would have been 65 years.

“My grandson is getting married in August, and it will be the same weekend that me and Gordon got married, it is really nice he has chosen that weekend.”

Marie has two children, a daughter, who is now 62, and son, aged 58. She also has two great-grandchildren.

Gordon was a member of a number or organisations in the village, including the Royal British Legion, RNLI Lifeboats, British Red Cross and Scouts.

“I feel it is nice to do this for him and talk about his time at the bank, as it was his life, he went from school to that bank,” added Marie.

Lloyds Bank confirmed last week that the branch will close this September due to the ‘changing ways customers choose to bank with them’. Read our original story here.

It is among a number of branches which are set to close across the country.

A spokesman for the branch said: “We have made the difficult decision to close the Lloyds Bank, Hassocks branch in September 2018, due to the changing ways customers choose to bank with us, which has resulted in the branch being used less often.

“We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause, customers can continue to access their banking at the nearby Post Office, which is a short distance from the branch. The nearest alternative branch is Burgess Hill.”

Other residents have responded to the closure news. Jean Barton said: “I think this is really bad for Hassocks and the businesses in the village that are doing their best in difficult times.

“The Post Office will not be able to cope if the businesses bank with them especially near Christmas when you can stand for half an hour or more.

“I am not convinced that it is a very secure way for deposited money to reach people’s banks.”

Resident Ruth Corke said on Facebook that she uses the bank every day. “Where exactly do they think we are going to go now,” she added.

Susan Baker said the closure was a ‘shame’ as it is a ‘lovely bank’ with ‘good staff’.