Card claims a place in snail records

PUBLISHED: 15:10 17 August 2001 | UPDATED: 10:26 03 March 2010

EVEN a snail would be disappointed at the time taken for a letter sent from Cornwall to arrive in Suffolk – but snail mail is the appropriate phrase for a postcard that took over 30 YEARS to arrive at its intended address.

EVEN a snail would be disappointed at the time taken for a letter sent from Cornwall to arrive in Suffolk – but snail mail is the appropriate phrase for a postcard that took over 30 YEARS to arrive at its intended address.

The postcard – sent from Falmouth with an old fashioned 3d stamp – arrived at the marked address of 23, Maple Close, Ipswich, on July 27 this year – more than 30 years after decimalisation came into place.

The postcard was sent from a couple on holiday in Cornwall, Leonard and Audrey Rodwell, but arrived 10 years after Leonard died, and also after the intended recipients, George and Yvonne Lown, had moved out of their address.

Luckily for them they stayed in the Ipswich area, moving to Penzance Road, Kesgrave, and were traced by the new owner of the Maple Close address.

They finally got hold of the postcard the day it arrived in Maple Close.

It reads: "Dear all at 23 (Maple Close) Having a good time etc, weather bad, so have covered a good distance in the car. Have just arrived at Falmouth then on to Lizard Head. Everything here is go-slow for drivers. All the best, Leonard and Audrey."

Mr and Mrs Lown, 77 and 71 respectively, contacted the Evening Star's Mailwatch reporters to let them know of the time taken for the letter to arrive – a time they don't think can be beaten.

"It's absolutely amazing," she said.

"The thing that I can't work out is why there was no surcharge on the postcard. The price of post now is a bit more expensive than 3d.

"It only had one franking mark on it as well; normally if it gets lost in the post then it gets redirected and another mark gets put on it.

"The gentleman who sent it died about 10 years ago and he used to work with my husband on the railways.

"I think his wife went to live in Carlisle to be near her daughter. I just think it's very strange."

Royal Mail however denies that the postcard could have remained in their system for over 30 years.

A spokeswoman said: "If a letter takes 10 days to arrive this is very obscure, so there is no way a letter could take 30 years to be delivered.

"We have received a lot of incidents like this that normally turn out to be pranks. But we would be happy to the view the card and check when and where it was sent."

Interesting facts –

N A snail travelling just half a mile per week could complete the journey in around 16 years – half the time it took the postcard to arrive.

N If you walked 400 miles from Cornwall to Suffolk, at an average of walking pace of 3mph for 12 hours a day, it would take you less than two weeks to complete the journey.

N A car can normally complete the journey in around ten hours – including the treacherous M25.

N A phone call would have connected the couples within seconds.

Summer 1970 –

N A British Comet airliner carrying 112 holidaymakers and crew crashes in Spain, killing all on board.

N Margaret Court beats Billie Jean King 14-12 11-9 in the longest Women's Singles Final at Wimbledon.

N Brazil beat Italy 4-1 in the World Cup Final in Mexico, with a team that is generally regarded as the best ever.

England are halted by West Germany in the quarter-finals, losing 3-2 after being 2-0 up.

Before the competition Bobby Moore was arrested on suspicion of stealing a gold bracelet in Bogota, Colombia.

N The Northern Ireland conflict runs high as 1,500 British troops fight IRA sniper attacks on the streets of Belfast.

N King Hussein of Jordan escapes an assassination attempt.

N Austrian racing driver Jochen Rindt dies in a high-speed crash in qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix.

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