October 3: Stamp of approval

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The lost art of letter-writing

WITHOUT the letters written by our forebears, and great literary figures like Sir Winston Churchill, Britain’s history would be incomplete – their correspondence has helped piece together the great events of the past with a level of detail, and insight, which cannot be provided by tweets, restricted to 140 characters, and other electronic forms of communication.

However the importance of letter-writing, a lost art in an impersonal world, does not end here. Simply receiving a hand-written letter can a make a lasting difference to the wellbeing of the elderly and lonely according to research undertaken by the University of Leeds whose overseas students were paired with pen-pals.

Long may such schemes prosper. For, if these letters do survive for the benefit of posterity, they will reveal that 2015 was the year when attitudes towards the lonely started to change. All it takes is the cost of a stamp – and some humanity. Is that too much to ask?