How we met: ‘I told him my father had died and he said I’d never be alone’

Jackie, 79, and Colin, 81, became pen friends in 1958 during his army service in Hong Kong and met two years later when he was home on leave. They recently celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary

At the end of 1958, Jackie was living with her parents in Kent and working as a filing clerk in London. Then a friend asked if she would like to write to a British soldier who was stationed in Hong Kong: “She knew a soldier out there and he wondered if any of her friends would like to write to him,” she says. “I thought it would be nice for them to get letters so far away from home.”

She began to write to Colin and they soon struck up a friendship. “Jackie and I wrote about once a week, and talked about our lives,” he says. While he was living near the Chinese border, taking part in military exercises, Jackie was helping her mother to look after her father, who had a disability, and going out with friends in London when she had the chance. “Colin comes from a big family – he’s one of 16 children. I remember him telling me all about his brothers and sisters,” says Jackie.

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