Local News

'Marvellous' Tech Reunites Murraylands Woman with Penpal

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Murray Bridge resident Maureen Green has had a video chat for the very first time with life-long penpal and friend Shirley in England.

When settling into Resthaven Murray Bridge in November 2021, Mrs Green's daughter, Pam, shared information with site staff about their special friendship.

Mrs Green said she has been writing to Shirley from the age of 14.

"Over the years, we have sent so many letters and photographs, but, for some reason, we had never actually seen one another in person," said Mrs Green.

"We’ve only spoken on the phone twice—once when my daughter Pam won a radio competition for the first international phone call placed from local radio station 5MU, and once again many years later."

It was in the mid to late 1970s, when Pam won a competition on our station 5MU to connect with Shirley. It was the first time they spoke on the phone.

Eager to take their friendship to the next level, site staff worked with Mrs Green's daughter to locate Shirley in aged care home, N-Vision, in Blackpool, England.

The next three months consisted of back-and-forth communication between staff at Resthaven Murray Bridge and N-Vision to plan a Zoom call, taking into consideration time zone differences and COVID restrictions.

They have finally connected since then and have enjoyed two video calls together, in real time via Zoom.

"It's marvellous...it would not have been possible for me to connect with Shirley on Zoom without the wonderful assistance of my family and the staff’s dedication across both sites," said Mrs Green.

Jennie Lenman headed over the Resthaven Murray Bridge on Swanport Road to meet Maureen and Lifestyle Coordinator Soraya Fitzgerald and have a chat, which you can listen to via the play window below:

Photo of Maureen Green and her friend Shirley on the screen, supplied via Resthaven