Hunt for long-lost pen-pal

Heidi Smith has recently moved to Mansfield from America and is trying to trace a penpal of her late mother Emilie Yvonne Gearhart, Heidi is pictured with a photograph of her Mum
Heidi Smith has recently moved to Mansfield from America and is trying to trace a penpal of her late mother Emilie Yvonne Gearhart, Heidi is pictured with a photograph of her Mum

An American woman living in Mansfield is searching for her mum’s long-lost pen-pal – after discovering she was also from the town.

Heidi Smith was born and raised in Colorado, USA, but now lives on Victoria Street, Mansfield, with her husband, who is from the town.

And the 44-year-old said she was “shocked” when she discovered an old letter of her late mother’s, written by a girl from Mansfield.

Heidi made the discovery when she visited family in America and went through some of her mother’s old letters.

Heidi’s mother Emilie Y Gearhart, who lived in Kentucky, America, at the time of the letters, had an overseas pen-pal in the 1940s.

Heidi only found one letter of correspondence, but believes there could be more letters hidden away.

Heidi said: “I’m hoping it’s possible to find my mother’s pen-pal. I never knew my mom had a pen-pal in England, but I knew she wrote to someone who was over seas.

“My mind is blown that of all the places she would have a pen-pal, it would be in the Mansfield area.”

The girl in the letter was Pamela Moakes, who, in the letter to Heidi’s mum dated July 13 1948, said she lived at 2 Budby Crescent, Welbeck Colliery Village, which is now known as Meden Vale.

She also said she was writing the letter on her 15th birthday which would make her 84 now.

In the letter, Pamela said she attended High Oakham Girls School, but was hoping to leave the following Thursday.

She wrote: “I am pleased to have an American pen-friend.”

She also mentioned her father was a colliery official.

Emilie passed away in April 2008, aged 72, leaving a large collection of letters she had received throughout her lifetime, including love letters from her husband.

Heidi said: “Even if I don’t find Pamela or her family, it is cool to have that connection.

“She was an amazing woman.”

n Are you or do you know Pamela Moakes? If so, get in touch with your Chad on 01623 450335 or at newsdesk@chad.co.uk or online at fb.com/mansfieldchad and we’ll pass your details on.