Search

Rainham woman lifts lid on 36-year friendship with German family - started by a message in a bottle

PUBLISHED: 12:31 21 November 2013 | UPDATED: 12:48 21 November 2013

Eileen & Noel Drew

Eileen & Noel Drew

Archant

A message in a bottle sent off the coast of Germany in 1977 has amazingly led to a 36-year friendship between two families.

The Drew family, of Rainham, and the Granditzki family, of Kronsgaard, North Germany, struck up a relationship after 10-year-old Richard Drew dropped a letter into the North Sea off Germany, during a family holiday.

Richard, his brother Peter and parents Eileen and Noel were amazed when they received a reply in the post later that year from Anja Granditzki, also aged 10.

She had discovered the bottle on the Isle of Sylt and her parents, Elke and Manfred, encouraged her to write back.

Little did they know - these early novelty letters would lead to them keeping in touch to this day, and even holidaying together.

“We received the first letter just before Christmas that year,” said Eileen, 70,

“It said ‘Happy Christmas, we have found you’, we were amazed.

“Richard and Anja wrote to each - they were the same age and shared interests – but I think it was the novelty of corresponding with someone in another country that he liked.”

The children spoke a different language, but that wasn’t an issue according to Eileen, who contacted the Recorder after reading last week’s story about a message in a bottle, sent from Germany and discovered in Rainham Marshes.

She joked: “Richard’s German wasn’t great, but Anja’s English was fantastic.”

Photographs were exchanged and the two families sent Christmas presents, before they finally met five years later.

“We visited their house in Bremen. We stayed with Anja and her parents and had a lovely time,” said Eileen.

Over the years, the families have continued to visit each other, and Anja and her two children have stayed with the Drew’s at their home in Fairview Avenue, Rainham.

Eileen added: “Anja likes to come over and see the sights in London, and the family came over to our 25th wedding anniversary too.”

Just last month Eileen and Noel, 71, visited the family in Kronsgaard, staying with Elke and Manfred.

“We love going over there,” admits Eileen, “if we could go back tomorrow, we would.”

To read last week’s story about the message in a bottle found at Rainham Marshes, click the link to the right of the article.

Related articles

Latest Romford News Stories

Yesterday, 15:00

A dedicated room for terminally ill patients and their loved ones has officially opened at Queen’s Hospital in memory of a beloved grandfather.

Yesterday, 13:00

Neighbours were making the most of the sunshine to commemorate the royal wedding with their very own street party.

Yesterday, 08:16

Havering’s NHS hospital trust has apologised to the family of a grandmother whose painful death from bladder cancer the NHS watchdog ruled “avoidable”.

Yesterday, 07:00

Tri-borough commander Jason Gwillim has said he would “love” more police officers in his command, but does not know how many will be pledged by the Mayor of London.

Mon, 17:49

If you’re using c2c to get home, your train could be leaving earlier than expected - or not calling at your stop at all.

Mon, 17:00

Lemon drizzle, red velvet and carrot cake were some of the many options available to Gidea Park residents attending a special bake sale held in memory of a teenager who died suddenly of a suspected heart problem.

Mon, 15:00

The second Romford Film Festival will officially open and showcase the best independently made films at Premiere Cinema in Romford this Thursday, May 24.

Mon, 11:55

A Romford man charged with the murder of 85-year-old Rosina (Rose) Coleman appeared at Barkingside Magistrates’ Court on Monday, May 21.

PROMOTED CONTENT

The next step in renewable energy could be right beneath your feet as you walk through a Romford shopping centre.

There are many reasons people decide to join a gym. Some want to pack on muscle for strength, train for endurance, or lose weight. But did you know it also does wonders for your mental health? Two members at Romford’s Better Gym in the Market Place talk about their personal fitness journey and the importance of replacing bad habits with good ones.

Sean Watson, director at the family-run St Michaels Homes which runs Howard Lodge and Dudbrook Hall, answers the common questions people have about care homes.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read news

Show Job Lists

News from your area

Competitions

Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

Who wouldn’t love the chance to go on a shopping spree. Imagine being able to walk into a shop and choose whatever your heart desires without having to worry about how much it costs.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Romford Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now
$render.recurse($ctx, '$content.code.value')