Seventies sweethearts go Dutch
Two pen-pals have reunited after for 30 years apart. The 1970s friends found each other after a web-search on 192.com, the UK's leading people-finding website.
Vicky Willson of Croydon, and Cor de Jong of Woerden, Holland, started writing to each other in 1975, after Vicky answered a pen-friend advertisement in the cult 70s magazine, Jackie.
After writing to each other for a year, Cor paid Vicky a surprise visit while motor-biking in the UK with his brother. In the summer of 1977, Vicky invited Cor to see her again, and the pair subsequently spent two weeks together.
"We had a very good time, but our friendship cooled down, bit by bit, for no reason. We were both young, busy and interested in everything that life offered us. We finally stopped writing about one year later," recalls Cor, now 53.
"Over the years I thought about Vicky, wondering what she was doing, how life was treating her. About four years ago, with the help of the internet, I tried to trace her again," he adds.
Cor enlisted the help of Robin Brown, a World War Two veteran and people-finding expert who uses 192.com to reunite missing servicemen and old friends.
All Cor had was Vicky's maiden name, her past address and the name of her sister. With these details, Robin was able to trawl through three hundred million edited electoral roll records on 192.com. Within just one week, Robin had found the contact details for Vicky's sister who still had Vicky's maiden name, Grant.
"192.com is the centre of my operations," says Mr Brown, 87. "I use the site's millions of edited electoral records to match a name with an address."
Cor was then able to write to Vicky, which he did as soon as possible; passing on his email address. After being separated for three decades, the pair could converse again.
"I feel so honoured that Cor got in touch with me, my head's in the clouds and I can't stop smiling," says Vicky, 51. "He was the very last person I expected to hear from. In many ways he's exactly the same person I knew."
The pair met up again this year in Holland, and hope to be close friends. "Cupid has well and truly done his job," says Cor. "We have great plans for the future and Vicky has even started learning Dutch."
192.com reunites thousands of families and friends a year by aggregating electoral roll records with the telephone directory, making it much easier to match a name with an address. The site has recently launched See Who's Searching For You, which shows users who's been looking for them on 192.com.
"See Who's Searching For You is a great way for people to find out if someone is looking for them, and gives them the option to contact the searcher," explains Dominic Blackburn, Product Director of 192.com. "We are delighted to have been of assistance in the case of Cor and Vicky, and we wish them much happiness," he added.