Bromsgrove woman meets up with American pen pal after 50-years of Trans-Atlantic letters - The Bromsgrove Standard

Bromsgrove woman meets up with American pen pal after 50-years of Trans-Atlantic letters

Bromsgrove Editorial 31st May, 2023 Updated: 1st Jun, 2023   0

TWO WOMEN who have been pen pals for almost 50 years were reunited in Bromsgrove over the bank holiday weekend.

Sarah Rees, who lives in Bromsgrove, and Nicole Winchip from Hobe Sound in Florida have been writing to each other since 1976 when they were children.

As teenagers they corresponded about their everyday lives, which pop stars they liked, their school grades and details of their shopping trips.

Later they shared news of their weddings, the births of their children and later Nicole’s grandchildren.


How it all began…..

The relationship came about when Sarah’s father Roger Allcock undertook business in the 1970s with Orvis, a large American company.

Roger ran a fishing tackle manufacturing business in Redditch and supplied Orvis with fly line leaders.

Dave Kashner, a buyer from Orvis, visited Sarah’s family in 1976, with his wife Molly.

While Roger and Dave were conducting business transactions, 10-year-old Sarah was asking Molly, a teacher at a school in Vermont, if one of the children in her class might like a UK pen pal.

Following the Kashner’s return to America, Sarah was overwhelmed to receive not one, but 30 letters – from each of the children in Molly’s class.

She decided to write to three of them and whilst two stopped communicating after a few years, Nicole continued with the pen pal friendship, which has now lasted for 47 years.

Meeting up in the US for a road trip

In 1989 Sarah travelled to America to meet Nicole – who had moved from Vermont and was living in Florida with her husband and two young children.

The women took a road trip to Walt Disney World and travelled to the Florida Keys, where they watched the spectacular sunset in Key West.

Fast forward 34 years and Nicole and her husband Stephen visited Sarah’s family in Bromsgrove on May 28 and 29, as part of a three-week trip to various European destinations.

Sarah said: “I hadn’t expected to be so emotional when I saw Nicole, but when I went to Birmingham Airport to pick her up on Sunday morning I burst into tears.

“We gave each other the biggest hug.

“From that moment until when she left on Tuesday morning we simply never stopped talking – we had so much to catch up on.”

Nicole added: “Sarah met my husband and children back in 1989 so it was great to finally meet her husband, Olly, and her two boys.

“I was also delighted to meet Sarah’s father, who helped bring about this lifelong friendship.

“He is a true English gentleman.”

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