February 4, 2023

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The world's oldest pen pals - meeting now on Zoom

The world’s oldest pen pals – meeting now on Zoom

First meeting: After Jeff Banks and Celesta Byrne turn 100, they’ve traded pen and paper for email and Zoom. Here they are pictured the first time they met in New York City, both of whom were 80 years old.

They have corresponded since they were teenagers. Now the pen pals are 100 years old. And they are still in touch. when zooming in.

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Briton Geoff Banks from Devon in England and American Celesta Byrne from New Jersey began writing with each other in 1938, at just 16 years old.

They made the connection through an educational project aimed at connecting British and American students.

– I received a letter from an American girl, and since then we have continued to write to each other, says Jeff SWNS News.

The former engineer wrote faithfully to his pen pal throughout World War II while serving as a mechanic with the British Air Force in the Pacific.

– There were a few years where we struggled to keep in touch, because of the war, he says, but after the war ended, we finally found it.

84 years later, they’re still in touch. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, pen pals do indeed own one world record in correspondence.

They filled the letters with life themselves. Family, everyday life, and a little bit about the Queen, of course. Queen Elizabeth II.

Everlasting friendship: Briton Geoff Banks from Devon, England finds his pen pal of 84 years is still ‘interesting’.

Digitize friendship

Over the years, writing with pen and paper started to get more difficult, and the grip of the pen was never as good as it used to be, Jeff says. But my pen pal had a solution to this challenge: email.

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Recently, they also discovered something that made communication easier. Zoom communication platform. Now they can talk to each other and see each other, without having to type!

Both are now getting help setting themselves up on Zoom.

– It’s nice to hear his voice, says Celesta Byrne.

It took 64 years before the two finally met. In New York City when Jeff goes on Christmas vacation to the United States at the age of eighty.

Two years later, he was again on a cross-pond trip, having lunch with his friend in New Jersey, writes SWNS. But for those wondering:

– We’re just friends, like good neighbours, says Byrne.

Because there was never any love affair between the two. Jeff was happily married until his wife passed away 11 years ago.

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