Family rediscovers old letter

IT'S taken 47 years to be returned to sender, but today an undelivered letter that was lost for five decades is to be reunited with its owners.Mary Duncan was astonished to recognise her mother's handwriting on the envelope featured on the front page of the Evening Star – with our story bringing memories flooding back.

IT'S taken 47 years to be returned to sender, but today an undelivered letter that was lost for five decades is to be reunited with its owners.

Mary Duncan was astonished to recognise her mother's handwriting on the envelope featured on the front page of the Evening Star – with our story bringing memories flooding back.

"It is incredible and so weird – where has that letter been all those years?" said Mrs Duncan, who was 14 when the letter was sent by her mum Peggy Treadwell from Felixstowe to an aunt and uncle in America.

"I recognised my mother's handwriting on the envelope. It was so extraordinary to see it on the front page. I was quite shocked."

Mrs Treadwell, who was living in Ilford with her husband Clement and their children Mary and Rodney in 1957, came to Felixstowe when her mother Hilda Cole died.

She and the children stayed for a while at her mother's home in Felix Road while she sorted out her affairs.

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Mrs Cole rented the house and had moved there from Shottisham, where she and her late husband Ernest had run the village stores and post office.

It was in May 1957 that Mrs Treadwell wrote to America to inform her relatives that Mrs Cole had died.

The letter though never reached them – and, after 47 years, last week it was delivered marked "return to sender" back to the house in Felix Road, now occupied by Julie Parker, who asked the Star to help her return it to the family.

Mrs Duncan said that shortly after her grandmother's death, the family moved from Ilford to Felixstowe.

"We had spent many happy holidays in the town with my grandmother and really liked it. Some friends of ours helped find us a house to rent in Walton and we moved," she said.

"My father had worked at the hospital in Romford and when we moved to Felixstowe he got a job at the Bartlet Hospital."

Today Mrs Duncan lives in Ipswich with her husband Andrew. Her brother Rodney lives in Bath Road, Felixstowe, and her mum, now 85, is in a nursing home in the town. Her father died four years ago aged 93.

"Sadly, my mother is suffering from dementia and Parkinson's disease – we are like strangers to her today.

"It is a great shame because I would have loved to have been able to tell her the tale of this letter – she would have really enjoyed it and would have liked to read again after all this time," said Mrs Duncan.

Miss Parker was delighted the letter would be returned to the family.

"I think it is fabulous and I am so pleased – it's part of their family history and they should have it back," she said.

Daphne Jacobs, 70, of Woodbridge, lived in Shottisham as a youngster and remembered the family running the village shop.

"Mr and Mrs Cole were a lovely couple and a real part of the village life. I remember their daughter Peggy and also recall as a nine-year-old being taken upstairs to see her new baby daughter (Mary)," she said.

n Have you had any letters returned more than 47 years old? Call the Evening Star Newsdesk on 01473 324788.

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