ONE fat lady threw all her weight behind a campaign to save post offices in Hampshire threatened with closure.

Clarissa Dickson Wright, one half of the TV cookery pair Two Fat Ladies, was among protesters in Winchester campaigning against proposals to close down 2,500 post offices nationwide.

Rural post offices are likely to be worst hit by the closures and the Countryside Alliance, which organised the protest, claims this will cut the heart out of thousands of communities and sever lifelines to the vulnerable and elderly.

Rural activist Clarissa said: "I was staying with a friend who is with the Countryside Alliance. She told me they were protesting and I rushed down.

"It is such an important issue. For some people in rural areas the post office is so much a part of their lives. I do everything at my post office - it's brilliant.

"I have a car, so I could drive to the next post office in Edinburgh if I had to, but not everyone can do that."

Joining her at the protest were Winchester City Council leader, Councillor George Beckett; his Tory colleague Steve Brine, prospective Conservative candidate for Winchester; and Ray Pearce from the Communication Workers Union.

Mr Beckett, said: "The post office is a lynchpin of rural life and this particular campaign is to save post offices in the local community."

Mr Brine added: "The Government has undermined the post office by taking away key services offered, such as payment of car tax and TV licences. It doesn't have to be this way.

"I'm contacted by postmasters in Chandler's Ford and Winchester who say if the post office goes so will the shop and we are just not going to have that.

"We hear from ministers about the sustainability of communities, but they need to put their money where their mouths are."

Union leader Mr Pearce added: "My interest in this protest is for people working in the post office who are my members. Every post office is under threat."

A spokesman for the post office was unavailable for comment.