Glasgow & West Scotland

'Look after my house for me' letter writer tracked down

Letter Image copyright Martin Johnstone

When Martin Johnstone decided to redecorate his son's childhood bedroom, he knew he would have some work to do.

But one job was easier than he anticipated.

When he ripped up the old carpet, he found a letter left by the room's previous inhabitant.

He decided to track the writer down.

Just 18 hours after a picture of it was posted online, the writer had responded.

Charlotte Gardner was 13 when she had to pack up her beloved bedroom and move to a new home.

She told the BBC Scotland news website that her mother suggested she write a letter to leave behind for the room's next inhabitant to find, asking them to take care of the place that meant so much to her.

On patterned stationery, she wrote: "My name is Charlotte Olivia Jane Gardner and I have lived in this house for 11 years and this was once my bedroom.

"I moved in when I was two and I am now 13.

"I have a sister as well who is 11 and she has lived here all her life.

Image copyright Martin Johnstone

"I am moving out in two days on Friday and I am really upset and sad.

"Look after my house for me."

Below her note, she added the date, 14 Feb 2007, and wished the recipient "happy Valentine's Day".

'Fond memories'

Martin Johnstone said he was moved when he found the letter.

"My first thought was 'Gosh, that's amazing,' he said.

"It's the sort of letter many of us may have written if we've ever moved house at that sort of age, then probably forget all about.

"It's just such a lovely thing."

Martin didn't hold much hope of tracking down Charlotte when he posted a snap of the letter on Twitter.

She tweeted back the next day to say she had "fond memories" of living in the tenement flat on Glasgow's south side.

"I hope you have loved it as much as I did", she added.

'A really important place'

When he read the tweet, Martin said his first thought was "Isn't social media amazing?".

"It it astonishing that in a country of over 60 million, we can find someone within a day like that," he said.

"When Charlotte wrote that letter we wouldn't have believed it possible that someone could have traced the writer so quickly like this.

"Social media can be a really difficult place, but it also has a really nice way of connecting people back up."

Charlotte said she could not remember writing the letter, and had completely forgotten about it until she saw the post.

"I recognised the handwriting straight away and knew it was mine," she said.

"The house was a really important place for me, and it was all very rushed when we were moving - we didn't get much chance to say goodbye to it."

She would love to visit the house again, but thinks it would be problematic given that she now lives down south.

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