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Published on April 24th, 2018 | by Michelle Roper-Shaw

Pen Friends Make a Comeback

Did you have a pen friend as a child? Maybe you still write? You will be pleased to hear that pen friends are making a comeback and uniting the young and old generations.

In recent years, writing to a pen friend has been overtaken by the internet, smart phones and social networks. However, a nursing home in Barry, South Wales has joined forces with a local primary school to bring the generations together.

The Joy of Writing

old lady

Children between the ages of seven and nine exchange letters with nursing home residents. They share updates on their lives and the children’s letters are laminated and displayed in the nursing home for all the residents to read and enjoy.

Teachers at the school are keen to instil the importance of the written word with their young pupils. In turn, the children enjoy the process of writing and learning about the lives of the nursing home residents.

For the elderly, conversing with the younger generation reduces feelings of isolation and also helps strengthen memory and communication skills. For those suffering from arthritis, writing eases the pain by enabling joint movement.

The Pen Friend Comeback

letter writing

This new lease of life for the pen friend is not just limited to schools and nursing homes. A BBC Radio 4 radio series last year celebrated the “phenomenon of the international pen-pal”. Several Radio 4 presenters including Fi Glover and The Archers actress Louiza Patikas struck up new friendships using pen and paper with strangers from across the world.

Whilst our obsession with the internet has resulted in a decline in pen friends, it is now promoting their comeback. Several online forums including the International Geek Girl Pen Pals Club and the League of Extraordinary Pen Pals connect keen letter writers. Plus, there are many reasons why a pen friend enhances your life.

Why a Pen Friend is Good for You

  • You expand your vocabulary. Rather than using text speak and emojis, writing improves your communication skills.
  • You learn more about the world. If your pen friend lives in another country you can get a first-hand account about another country or culture.
  • You make lifelong friendships. The longest time as pen friends according to the Guinness World Records is two ladies form Britain and the United States who wrote to each other for 77 years.

Writing Matters for National Stationery Week

National Stationery Week is celebrated this week and the key message is “Writing Matters”. When did you last write a letter? Instead of posting a social media message this week, pick up a pen and write a letter to an old friend. Basildon Bond is the ideal choice for your handwritten letters. Each sheet of Basildon Bond notepaper is watermarked to give that extra special finishing touch to your prose.

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