Search

Better late than never! Miracle as letter arrives 54 YEARS after it was posted

PUBLISHED: 19:00 22 June 2020

Gill Milbourne has just received a letter from her sister that was posted in 1966 Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Gill Milbourne has just received a letter from her sister that was posted in 1966 Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Archant

In the modern age, it is sometimes referred to as “snail mail” - but Gill Milbourne did not expect the post be quite so slow when she opened a letter 54 YEARS after it was sent.

The letter has taken over 50 years to get from London to Ipswich Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNThe letter has taken over 50 years to get from London to Ipswich Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Her sister, Jean Quennell, had sent the letter to Ipswich from the Post Office Tower in London - now the BT Tower - in 1966.

Mrs Quennell was visiting the UK from Malawi, where she and her husband were living at the time, for Mrs Milbourne’s wedding - but had sent a commemorative letter as a memento from a day out to London during their trip.

She included a calendar for Air Malawi and placed 3d stamps on the envelope - but the letter never arrived.

She thought it would never see the light of day again - but then, miraculously, it finally arrived at Mrs Milbourne’s Ipswich home more than five decades after it was supposed to.

Gill and Mel Milbourne still live in the same house, meaning the letter could eventually find its way to them Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNGill and Mel Milbourne still live in the same house, meaning the letter could eventually find its way to them Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

In the time it has taken the letter to get from A to B, man has walked on the moon, 10 prime ministers have taken power and inventions such as the Atari computer, the Sony Walkman and later the mobile phone and the internet have taken the world by storm.

Mrs Milbourne might never have received the letter had she not still been living in the same house, which has been her home for more than half a century.

“I cannot believe it has taken 54 years to get to me,” said Mrs Milbourne.

You may also want to watch:

“I think it has been sitting somewhere. It was in good condition.”

Where the letter has been hiding is a mystery no-one may ever be able to solve.

However, its postmark shows it has had a fairly recent journey through Royal Mail’s South East Anglian Mail Centre, in Chelmsford.

A spokesman for Royal Mail said: “It is difficult to speculate what may have happened to this item of mail, but it is likely that it was put back into the postal system by someone recently, rather than it being lost or stuck somewhere.

The letter contained an Air Malawi calendar from 1966 Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNThe letter contained an Air Malawi calendar from 1966 Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

“Royal Mail regularly checks all its delivery offices and clears its processing machines daily.

“Once an item is in the postal system, then it will be delivered to the address on the letter.”

Despite its delay, Mrs Milbourne was delighted to have eventually received the letter.

“So many things have changed since then,” said Mrs Milbourne.

The letter, which was sent in 1966, still has its 3d stamps on it Picture: GILL MILBOURNEThe letter, which was sent in 1966, still has its 3d stamps on it Picture: GILL MILBOURNE

“We were just married. Now we have two children, five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.”


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Ipswich Star. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Ipswich Star