Penpals meet up after 46 years

Two school penpals, who are connected by Broadford but who have lived their lives 10,000 miles apart, met recently for the very first time since they began correspondence 46 years ago.

In 1968 Catherine Couper (pictured right), who was brought up in Broadford in Victoria, Australia, wrote as a child to Broadford Primary School on the Isle of Skye in search of a pen pal.

There, on the other side of the world, Isobel Maguire responded — and so began a friendship that has lasted over four decades. The pair had never met in person until last week when Catherine came to visit Isobel (now Cooke) at her home in Dunfermline.

The pair spent last weekend touring Skye, spending a night in Portree and a night in Broadford. Broadford in Victoria, Catherine explained, is believed to have been named in honour of the town founder’s wife who supposedly hailed from Skye.

Catherine, who now lives in Western Australia, said: “My mother had cousins in Scotland that she regularly wrote to and as a child I wanted someone to write to and receive letters from. My mother suggested writing to the Broadford school on the  Isle of Skye as our hometown had been named after the town on Skye.”

She added: “We wrote letters, and then when we exchanged tapes, then we wrote e-mails and now we Facebook each other. “But it was very emotional to meet for the first time. It was beautiful seeing around Skye, a dream for both of us — two Broadford girls together after 46 years.”