Better late than never! Miracle as letter arrives 54 YEARS after it was posted
PUBLISHED: 19:00 22 June 2020
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.
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.
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.
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“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.
“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.
“We were just married. Now we have two children, five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.”
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