A six-year-old and a 93 year-old in Luton have become friends during lockdown thanks to a penpal scheme

Despite an age gap of almost 90 years, a six-year-old and a care home resident in Luton have become firm friends after becoming penpals during lockdown. I

It's meant a lot to 93-year-old Madge Weatherhead, who was born and bred in Luton and now lives at a care home in the town called Little Bramingham Farm, run by the charity Friends of the Elderly. 

Madge Weatherhead is very fond of children as she comes from a big family.

But it's been difficult for her to see relatives recently, especially as most of them live abroad. 

So when the opportunity came up to become penpals with a six-year-old - she was only too happy to take part. 

Madge said:

She is the most charming little girl, I've got all her letters here, and she draws me a picture, and I do the same back to her. And when I get a letter, that's very, very rewarding I think oh that's so nice for her to bother to write to me whose so ancient now.

Madge Weatherhead
One of Ella's drawings Credit: ITV Anglia

Her penpal is Ella Hasselby-Davies, who lives in Bradford in Yorkshire, but has family in Luton. 

It was the six year old's idea to write to a care home resident in the area, and it's helped Madge feel connected with the outside world. 

Emma Lawrance, Care Home Manager, Little Bramingham Farm said:

Before Covid we had a lot of community groups coming in, mum's groups, ballet groups, tots groups, and Madge would always be involved in that, so that was fantastic. So this has really filled the gap for Madge, having this penpal now and feeling like she's giving something back to the community.

Emma Lawrance, Little Bramingham Farm Care Home

And Ella says she has got a lot from the experience too.

Becca Question: "Do you feel like you've made a friend in Ella?"

Madge: "Yes I have made a friend of her, it's lovely to have a young friend."

Age is just a number between friends, and when it's safe to do so, these two are hoping to meet in person.