FRIENDS: Penpals Catherine Shaw and Angela Saunders have met for the first time.
FRIENDS: Penpals Catherine Shaw and Angela Saunders have met for the first time. contributed

It takes patience to make a friend for life

THEY'VE known each other for 23 years but they had never met face-to-face until now.

Penpals Catherine Shaw, of Mackay, and Angela Saunders, of Scotland, have been writing to each other since they were teenagers but the distance between their homes meant they had never physically met.

That all changed when Ms Saunders travelled to Mackay for a short holiday.

It was their mutual love of the band Take That they created a long-lasting friendship from a pen pal advertisement through a Take That fan club.

The teenagers also liked Neighbours and Home and Away.

"I would send her VHSs," Mrs Shaw said.

The women still have a love for their boy band.

Ms Saunders follows and stays in contact with singers Gary Barlow and Robbie Williams on social media.

She tried to get Gary Barlow to attend her 40th birthday party with the online campaign #GBtoangelas40th.

"He was out of the country but he did send a message," she said.

Although they lost touch for a little while, Facebook ignited the friendship again and they've been communicating regularly ever since.

Ms Saunders said the key to a successful pen pal relationship was keeping in touch, understanding that everyone has lives and they can be busy.

Mrs Shaw has been taking her Scottish friend on tours of the Mackay area. This week they visited the Whitsundays, exploring Hamilton Island and Whitehaven Beach.



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