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Pen pals reunite after more than half a century

Pen pals reunite after more than half a century

It is now more than sixty years since a Coleraine woman first made contact with her Canadian pen pal and began a lifelong friendship.
Joan Strawbridge and Masumi ‘Mary’ Okihiro have been writing to each other for 67 years, ever since Joan was just a schoolgirl.
During their second meeting at a coffee shop in Coleraine on Friday (June 28), Joan (76) told The Chronicle how she first came into contact with Mary (79).
She recalls: ‘When I was in primary school, the principal at the time was Mr Cunningham. I remember him asking if we wanted to be pen pals and of course I said yes.’
“And so it went on. We had been writing to each other since I was nine years old,” mused Grandmother Joan.
“We first met 55 years ago when Mary travelled to Northern Ireland and came to visit me. We met in person in April 1969.
“And I can’t believe we’re meeting again after more than half a century,” Joan added.

* For the full story, see today’s Coleraine Chronicle, in shops now.