Dunstable woman celebrates 70 years of friendship with Danish pen pal

Lisi (right) and husband Knud, 83, recently visited Dunstable to see Patricia (left) and her husband Albert, 86.
Lisi (right) and husband Knud, 83, recently visited Dunstable to see Patricia (left) and her husband Albert, 86.

A Dunstable woman is celebrating 70 years of friendship with her dear Danish pen pal who made a special trip to England to celebrate.

Patricia Morgan, 81, first started writing to Lisi Jensen around September 1949, after one of Lisi’s teachers had visited Britain Street school (now Priory Academy) and taken back some addresses.

Patricia soon received a letter: ‘I am Lisi, I am 11 years old...’ and the pair struck up a bond, with Lisi sharing stories about life on her family farm in Gedser, Denmark, and Patricia about her childhood in Bedfordshire.

Patricia said: “We used to write to each other about every six weeks or so.

“What did I enjoy? The fact she was foreign - and her English is so much better than mine. She speaks correct English - I speak Bedfordshire!

“We first met in 1953 when we were around 14 or 15. Lisi came over and stayed with me for three weeks. It was lovely.

“We just jelled from the word ‘go’.

“Lisi lived on a farm, and her family thought we were still hungry - we had been depleted in the war - so her father sent quite a bit of stuff!”

Patricia remembers taking Lisi to see Queen Elizabeth’s coronation decorations, as well as Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London, and other famous sites.

Over the years the pair have made trips to visit each other, with Lisi asking Patricia to be godmother to her son Claus (now 61), and Patricia took her prayer book to the ceremony in Gedser in order to show the Lutheran minister that she was acceptable.

She also recalls how the older Danish generation thanked the British for liberating them in World War Two.

Lisi said: “Writing was good for being better at English and I used to hear a lot about England.My children. grandchildren and great grandchildren love to have a letter written by hand and my mother also loved to write.

“I remember first arriving in Liverpool Street Station [age 14] but Patricia and her mother had missed the bus - a policeman had to put me on a bus to Dunstable! Patricia’s dad and mum were my English dad and mum.

“I think Patricia and I are the same in the way we educated our children, and the way we love our families.”

Patricia has one daughter and two grandchildren, while Lisi has five children, 15 grandchildren, and no.s 16 and 17 great grandchildren on the way!