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Postcard sent to Harold Wood Hospital that arrived 43 years late will be reunited with Dutch sender

PUBLISHED: 10:00 11 February 2019

The back of a postcard that arrived 43 years late to Havering from a Dutch address.

The back of a postcard that arrived 43 years late to Havering from a Dutch address.

Archant

A postcard from a Dutch woman to her ill father at Harold Wood hospital will now be returned to the Netherlands after it took 43 years to arrive to its address.

Staff at the Havering campus of the London South Bank University were surprised to receive a postcard on January 17 from the Netherlands that was sent 43 years ago in January 1976.Staff at the Havering campus of the London South Bank University were surprised to receive a postcard on January 17 from the Netherlands that was sent 43 years ago in January 1976.

Staff at the Havering campus of the London South Bank University were surprised to receive a postcard on January 17 from the Netherlands that was sent in January 1976.

The campus in Goldcrest Way shares the same postcode as the old Harold Wood Hospital in Gubbins Lane which closed in 2006.

Ann, the writer of the postcard, sent it to a Mr E L Branch.

The postcard reads: “My dear Dad, Arrived back safely after a calm morning. Frans met me at Adam [Amsterdam] station at 8.30am.

“My parents in law had collected the children Friday straight from school – everybody managed very well.

“I hope you are making good progress and so soon be out – keep your chin up you’re good for another 10 years at least.

“Much love from us all, we’re thinking of you. Ann, Frans, Mela and Carmen.”

Linda Lowe, a library assistant at the university, discovered that there was an Edward Leslie Branch, born in Forest Gate, who died in April 1976 in Brentwood.

That would make this the last time Ann saw her father before she went back to the Netherlands.

She also discovered the birth of a woman, Ann E Branch in 1937 in Romford, which could mean that Ann was 40 when the card was sent.

With the help of Linda, the Recorder was able to trace Edward’s family and locate his granddaughter who is living in west London.

She was 11 years old when her grandfather died.

The postcard will now be returned to Ann E Branch who is still living in the Netherlands.

A spokeswoman from Royal Mail, said: “It is difficult to speculate what may have happened to this item of mail, but it is likely that it was put back into the postal system by someone recently, rather than it being lost or stuck somewhere.

“Royal Mail regularly checks all its delivery offices and clears its processing machines daily.

“Once an item is in the postal system then it will be delivered to the address on the card.”

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