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Pick up a penpal

Everyone invited to join in NSW letter writing comp with stationery bundles as prizes


Anyone who likes handwriting can join in a special penpal competition for National Stationery Week with loads of goodies for prizes.

Rainbows Penpal Club, one of the UK’s last proper pen and paper penpal organisations, is running its first National Letter Writing Competition that’s open to everyone as part of NSW, which runs over Monday to Sunday, 13-19 May.

Above & top: Handwritten letters are still important to many
Above & top: Handwritten letters are still important to many

Centred around writing a letter, which club founder Marjorie Edwards says “not enough people do these days”, there are three themes with a maximum of 750 words, to be written by hand and posted to the club.

The best letter in each category – a letter to a friend about your most exciting day, renewing a friendship, and talking about a long-awaiting trip of a lifetime – will win a bundle of stationery goodies from Molly Mae Cards, Melbury Studios, Snopake, Basildon Bond, Lamy Pens and more, as prizes are still being donated.

Rainbows has been running for 37 years and currently has over 500 members around the world receiving the club magazine, and over 1,000 Facebook followers.

“Letter writers use just about every kind of stationery there is,” Marjorie said, “from writing paper to washi tape, stickers and stampers, pens and pencils and Pritt stick, notebooks and notelets, cards and envelopes and so much more so it’s appropriate that they should feature as a part of this exciting week!

Above: Publisher Mollie Mae has given a card and wrap bundle for the winners
Above: Publisher Molly Mae has given a card and wrap bundle for the winners

“Technology is fine if you’re in a hurry, but letter writing is a slow and intimate form of communication. Thinking of the person you are writing to, knowing the things they like, knowing about their family and hobbies and the time you take to write your carefully selected words is precious.

“To many, letters are a lifeline – the lonely, the housebound, the shy and those without a family. Then there’s those who are curious about cultures and countries and those who just love to hold a pen in their hands and see written words form on a pristine sheet. For them, letter writing is an absolute joy.”

The full details of the three options are:

  • Write a letter to your friend about the most exciting day out you’ve just had. Paint a picture in words of where you went and all the things you did.
  • You’ve been thinking about a friend you were once very close to a few years ago but you both lost touch. Write them a letter (hoping that they are still at the same address or that the letter might be forwarded) and tell them all about the intervening years.
  • You are going on a long-awaited trip of a lifetime. Write to someone, telling them about your plans and convey the excitement you’re feeling,
Above: Generous sponsors have donated piles of stationery as prizes
Above: Generous sponsors have donated piles of stationery as prizes

Letters should be no more than 750 words long, handwritten and sent by post to Rainbows Penpal Club, 5 Walrond Court, Ilminster TA19 0HN. If colour and decoration are your thing, feel free to decorate your letter. Letters should arrive no later than Saturday, 11 May, so they can be judged during National Stationery Week and the winners announced at the end.

NSW is owned and organised by Max Publishing, as well as London Stationery Show, which takes place on Tuesday and Wednesday, 14-15 May, at the Business Design Centre in Islington, and is the only UK trade fair dedicated to the sector. To register to attend click here.

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