The Power of a Handwritten Letter

This week saw the funeral of a former colleague of mine. He was wise, thoughtful and caring and it’s terribly sad he wasn’t able to enjoy a long and rich retirement.

His work as an advisor for the Local Authority meant we didn’t have day to day contact but one thing he did I will never forget. After one of our Ofsted inspections, he took the time to write to me. We usually get emails from different people after an inspection and they’re always nice to get but Stephen took the time to write a letter. A proper letter, written out by hand, put into an envelope and posted. It meant so much to me that he’d done that.

I don’t have the emails people sent but I still have that letter. I’m sure I’m not the only one. It was just one of the ways he touched the people he knew.


  1. I am eighteen and a freshman in college and I have three younger brothers, all teenagers as well. I suppose we were raised in an old fashioned family because hand-written notes and letters are a usual thing with us. At Christmas were were allowed to play with gifts received by mail or delivery services but within a few days we had to send a thank you note to the sender. Not just “thanks for this” or “thanks for that.” We had to “involve” our aunts and uncles in our present. “Thanks so much for the neat Erector set! I have already built the crane and will do the car next. The crane can lift almost a pound in weight without tipping over.” Mom calls the The Art Of The Grateful Receiver.

    We still send hand written thank you note for having been invited out, whether for a meal, or a concert, or just to have been included in some other outing. This amazes my college friends, and when the parents of those friends receive a “bread and butter” note for dinner it usually results in a telephone call to be thanked for the thank you note. Are hand written notes really that rare? What a pity.

    I suppose it is like ladies no longer wearing hats and gloves. At least there is one lady who still maintains that standard, and if you’ll permit a Yank to say it, God save Her Majesty.

  2. Oops. What we call Erector sets I believe my Scottish and English cousins call Meccano sets.

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