The world’s oldest pen pals have turned 100 years old.

Geoff Banks from England and Celesta Byrne from America started writing each other letters in 1938 when they were just 16 years old. They were paired for an educational project that sought to connect British and American students. Now they are celebrating over 80 years of letters. The pair even continued sending letters during World War II, while Geoff served as a mechanic on a British aircraft carrier. 

Pen pals Geoff Banks and Celesta Byrne – via SWNS

They began using email a while back, and recently had their first Zoom call “In one of my early letters I sent her a copy of a British paper in 1953 which had Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation on the front of it. But we generally just chat about daily lives and our families—and put the world to rights, you know.” said Geoff. Despite having chatted for decades they only met for the first time in 2002 when Geoff visited New York City for Christmas. They also met for a second time two years later, when Celesta invited Geoff to her home for lunch. Nowadays, Geoff relies on young people to assist him in setting up a chat with her, using Zoom. Celesta does the same from her new residence in Texas, where she moved to be close to family.

A letter Geoff Banks received from his pen pal Celesta Byrne, dated 1953 – SWNS

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