Intercontinental pen pals meet for first time in 50 years

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Media captionIntercontinental pen pals meet for first time since writing began 50 years ago

Two pen pals who have been writing from opposite ends of the earth for 50 years have met in person for the first time.

Rosemary Caskin, from Gloucestershire, began sending letters 10,193 miles (16,400km) to Edith Dawson in Australia when she was nine-years-old.

Ms Dawson, three years her senior, has now made the journey from Kapunda in South Australia, to Wotton-under-Edge, for Mrs Caskin's 60th birthday.

The pair said it was a "very exciting" point in their lives.

Image caption Edith Dawson (left) has flown in from Australia for Rosemary Caskin's 60th birthday

A celebratory cake was made for the occasion featuring a map of the UK and Australia, an airmail letter and some flying '50' banners.

Ms Dawson said: "When we were [nine] and 12 you couldn't even imagine being 50, let along actually corresponding with someone for that time."

Marriages and children

Reflecting back to the 1960s, Mrs Caskin said: "It was the thing to have pen friends. Schools were encouraging it and my school friend had a pen pal."

That pen pal was actually Mrs Caskin's sister, she added.

The two have shared much of life for half a century, corresponding through hand-written letters, emails and sending gifts.

"We've both had two marriages so there was the joy of our first marriage, the joy of having children, the sadness of when our first marriages failed and identifying one with another over that and really feeling for each other," added Mrs Caskin.

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