Pen Friends Living Over 4000 Km Apart Are Still Close 83 Years After The First Letter

They had been the closest of friends for more than 80 years despite living more than 4,828 kilometres apart, in Canada and the UK, respectively.

Pen Friends Living Over 4000 Km Apart Are Still Close 83 Years After The First Letter

Ruth and Beryl in 1986.

Making pen buddies was popular among young people up until a few decades ago due to the value placed on handwritten or typed letters, but it is gradually vanishing from the realm of communications.

The days of waiting for the mailman or checking the letterbox appear to be over, as do the days of receiving and sending handwritten letters.

However, the Guinness Book of Records has documented the tale of two female pen pals who are still in touch 83 years after their first correspondence.

"Ruth Magee and Beryl Richmond's friendship has stood the test of time and distance. Despite living more than 3,000 miles (4,828 km) apart, in Canada and the UK, respectively, they've been the best of friends for more than 80 years. Their close relationship was forged through writing letters to each other," writes the record-keeping organisation.

"Now aged 95, they hold the record for longest lasting pen friendship (pen pals) with a whopping 83 years and 172 days of correspondence."

The Guinness Book of Records said that "the duo was first awarded the record in 2018 after 78 years and 160 days of writing to each other. And although worsening eyesight means they can't write to each other as often these days, their love for one another is as strong as ever. It all started in 1939 when one of Ruth's teachers started up a pen pal project."

Ruth, from Ontario, Canada, and Beryl, from Liverpool, England, were paired up, and clearly it was a match made in heaven.

"I was only 10 or 11 at the time, and we didn't think too much about what was going on; we just enjoyed writing to each other, and I had no idea I'd still be writing to her at 95; in fact, I didn't even think that 15 years ago," Ruth said.

"We used to write several times a year, but now it's mainly down to birthdays and Christmas.

"We both have poor eyesight; I have very poor eyesight for writing, and I find it very hard to do now, so it's just very short notes, but we still enjoy keeping in touch."