Something to write home about! Pen-pals finally meet after 30 years

Lynette Turner and Sheelagh Marshall met up in Bridlington after writing to each other for more than 30 years.
Lynette Turner and Sheelagh Marshall met up in Bridlington after writing to each other for more than 30 years.

They have written to each other for more than 30 years but had never met, or even chatted on the phone.

Pen-pals Sheelagh Marshall and Lynette Turner have been sending letters back and forth between the UK and Australia, and have more recently used email as a way of catching up.

But last week, they finally had the chance to chat face-to-face, when Lynette came to Bridlington as a stop on her six-week tour of Europe.

Sheelagh, who has numerous penpals around the world, said: “It was lovely. Lynette said they don’t have seaside resorts like this in Australia.

“She lives three streets from the beach but she said it was nothing like this.

“She was absolutely fascinated and couldn’t believe how big the seagulls were.”

The friends first made contact in the 1980s, when Woman’s Weekly magazine ran a penpal section.

Sheelagh responded to Lynette’s request and they became good friends through the art of letter-writing.

“At the time, I was in my 20s with young children, stuck at home and it was nice to get letters with colourful stamps instead of bills.

“We have gone through everything from children going to school, to moving house, new jobs and retiring.

“I never thought we would meet up though, we had never even spoken on the phone.”

Sheelagh lived in Bradford and Lynette was in Tasmania when they started writing to each other, and they have never gone longer than six weeks without getting in touch.

Sheelagh moved to the East Coast nine years ago and Lynette now lives in Adelaide.

She is visiting Europe for six weeks and the next stops on her schedule after Bridlington were Paris and Rome.

Lynette travelled on the train from London last Tuesday and met Sheelagh who gave her a tour of the seafront.

“She tried British fish and chips and she loved it. They eat shark back home which is quite bitter, so she enjoyed having lovely white fish.

“We walked along the promenade and stopped for an ice cream.

“It was lovely seeing Bridlington through her eyes.”

After a walk through town to show Lynette some of the style of British houses, they went to Sheelagh’s home in St Alban Road for a chat before her Australian visitor had to get the train back to London, where she was staying with her daughter.”

Sheelagh had bought a selection of Bridlington gifts to give to Lynette and she had brought a selection of Australian souvenirs in exchange.

“I don’t think we will ever get chance to meet again, “ said Sheelagh.