Pen pals who lost touch 40 years ago reunited in Aldi – and they were living just a MILE apart
Two penpals who lived over 400 miles apart and lost touch for 41 years discovered they now live only a mile away from each other after being reunited in ALDI.
Yvette Metay, from Ivry-sur-Seine, near Paris, and Sue Ellis, from Hednesford, Staffs, were randomly paired together as penfriends while at school in the late 1960s.
They continued to exchange letters for years, with Yvette even visiting the Black Country seven times during their friendship.
Despite being close friends, the pair grew apart as work and family life got in the way, and lost touch for four decades after writing their final correspondence in 1973.
Amazingly though, as Sue finished her shopping at an Aldi in Hednesford, Staffs, she spotted her long lost friend going into the store and instantly knew it was Yvette.
Sue, now 60, said: “It was a real shock to see her.
“I just happened to glance over at this woman going into the store and just knew in my stomach it was Yvette.
“I wanted to be sure so I went back into the store and followed her for 30 seconds before approaching her.
“At first she didn’t know who I was, but after about a minute, I smiled and she said my name.
“It’s been absolutely wonderful finding her again.”
Having lost touch over 40 years ago, the pair had a lot of catching up to do and in their chats realised they had been living less than a mile apart in Hednesford.
On Yvette’s visit to Wolverhampton she met her future husband, Steven Pearson, and had moved to West Midlands over 30 years ago.
The happy couple set up home in Hednesford a year ago, and now have three children and four grandchildren.
Yvette, also 60, said: “It has been such a fantastic surprise.
“As soon as Sue said my name I knew I recognised her, but I wasn’t sure from where.
“I looked her face up and down for a few seconds, but then, when she smiled, it all clicked.
“I just knew it was her.”
In the early seventies the pair’s letters became increasingly frequent as they exchanged stories of their lives on separate sides of the English Channel and made arrangements to visit each other.
They even exchanged gifts, with Sue sending makeup over to Yvette, receiving cigarettes, Parisian magazines and perfume in return.
As Yvette visited this country a couple of times, Sue changed jobs to save up for the airfare to visit her in Paris.
The two women, now grandmothers, have spent the last couple of months reminiscing over a bad full of postcards, ticket stubs and letters Yvette sent to Sue.
In celebration of them finding each other again after all these years, both have attended each other’s 60th birthday celebrations after Sue’s partner, Steve Price, invited Yvette to a party in October 2014.
Sue, who used to work as a police officer, said: “Even after 40 years apart Yvette has still got this wonderful way of saying some funny phrases in a West Midlands accent.”