Pen-pals lose touch after 65 years

Ann and John Barber on holiday2.Search for pen-pal: Submitted pictures

Ann and John Barber on holiday2.Search for pen-pal: Submitted pictures - Credit: Archant

It's a transatlantic relationship that goes back to the early 1950s, but a pen-pal fears it could now be over.

Ann and John Barber on holiday. .Search for pen-pal: Submitted pictures

Ann and John Barber on holiday. .Search for pen-pal: Submitted pictures - Credit: Archant

Joyce Benedict was just 11 when she started writing to Ann Barber, and she's now 76.

Although they never have met in person or talked on the phone they kept up a correspondence for more than 60 years, until late last year.

The last letter Mrs Benedict wrote to Mrs Barber at an address in Burdock Close, Downham Market was returned 'gone away' and she's now desperate to get back in touch.

Mrs Benedict, who lives thousands of miles away in New York state in the US, said: 'There used to be a magazine that had a list of children that wanted pen-pals after the war.

Joyce Benedict. Search for pen-pal: Submitted pictures

Joyce Benedict. Search for pen-pal: Submitted pictures - Credit: Archant


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'I started to write to her when I was about 11. Her father worked for the postal service in England. He would send me Rupert Books and books with pop-up pages. We wrote to each other for many years.

'When I got married in 1965 I lost contact with her. But I then got back in touch through her father at the postal service.

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'She wrote me a letter around 1968. I was in my 20s. She had one son and so did I. I named my son Thomas Christopher and she named her son Stephen Christopher. Neither one of us knew that at the time.

'We wrote to each other on and off throughout the years. At times we lost touch when one of us moved, but we always found out the new address.

'We continued to write even though she moved several times in the past 10 years.

'I sent my last letter to her in September last year, but it came back and was marked gone away.

'I am now 76 and I believe Ann was a couple of years older. I would love to locate her.'

The people now living in the Barber former home in Burdock Close believe the couple has moved back to Downham Market.

Do you know Ann Barber in Downham Market? Email david.bale2@archant.co.uk

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