Pen pals reunite for second time in more than 30 years in Rustington

Linda Underwood and Bronwyn Sizer meeting for the first time in 1998
Linda Underwood and Bronwyn Sizer meeting for the first time in 1998

Pen pals of more than 30 years were reunited for their second-ever meeting in Rustington.

Linda Underwood was delighted to receive a visit from her long-standing Australian friend Bronwyn Sizer.

Linda Underwood and Bronwyn Sizer meeting again in 2018, after 20 years had passed since their last meeting

Linda Underwood and Bronwyn Sizer meeting again in 2018, after 20 years had passed since their last meeting

Through the International Penfriends Club in 1986, 21-year-old Linda reached out to people across the world and Bronwyn wrote back, sparking a friendship that has lasted decades, despite the women meeting only twice in their lives.

Bronwyn, who lives in Victoria in Australia, visited Linda for the first time in 1998, with her partner Mario and daughter Isabella.

The women were both aged 34 at the time and now 20 years later, Bronwyn has returned at age 54 for a five-day visit to Rustington.

Linda said: “We get on really well, it is like I always see her. When we meet it is like we have never been away, we just gelled.”

After a 20-day coach tour of England, Bronwyn and her friend Karen dropped in to visit Linda before leaving for four days in Paris and then back to Australia.

Linda provided a tour of some of the area, showing them Rustington, Arundel and Bognor. They enjoyed an evening together drinking Pimm’s, and took advantage of the good weather by having a picnic.

Reading through the letters which Linda has kept over the years for sentimental reasons, the pair took the chance to reminisce about some of the events that had happened since they first began corresponding.

Linda also uncovered an article written in the Littlehampton Gazette about their first meeting 20 years ago, which was published on June 11, 1998.

Things have moved on since the pair started writing letters to each other most weeks, as now they can keep in touch through Facebook, email and they can video call each other – when they are both awake at the same time.

Linda said they always have a couple of games of Scrabble on the go as well.

They do not want to wait 20 years before their next meet-up and Linda would love to be able to make a visit to Australia if she gets the chance. Bronwyn has promised if she wins the lottery, she will be sure to send Linda a plane ticket.