A penny-pinching brother and sister have sent the same Christmas and birthday card back and forth to each other – for a staggering 46 YEARS.
Ken Payne, 76, began sending the card – which features a snowman – to his sister Joyce Lampitt, 73, in 1967 as a family joke about his self-confessed stingy nature.
Less than a month later, grandmother-of-three Joyce then sent the 3in (7.5cm) square card back to Ken for his 30th birthday on January 12.
The festive greeting – which was part of a pack of 12 bought for 2s – has been sent back and forth every year since and 14 extra pages have been sellotaped inside to make more space for messages.
The pair, who live 25 miles apart in Worcestershire, used to post the card, but say it’s become such a precious family tradition they now hand deliver it to each other.
Retired metal worker Ken, who lives on his own in Worcester, said: “The family used to say I was mean so I sent them this card saying ‘The world’s biggest miser’.
“I don’t know what started it all off calling me a miser, maybe it was wrapping up presents in newspaper.
“I guess that is why they called me stingy, but I took it on the chin and it is all in good spirits.
“It’s one of the quirky things we just do.
“What I didn’t expect was for the card to keep going for 40 odd years.
“The last few years we’ve taken more care of it.
“We don’t dare post it. It’s safer to deliver it by hand.
“The card is quite fragile now, it has been going back and forth for the past 46 years, almost half a century, that is a very long time.
“It started as a family joke but it has now turned into a family tradition.
“I can see it going to someone else after that too once we are gone.
“We will keep doing it as long as we are both alive.”
Joyce, a retired children’s worker, who has two daughters from another marriage and three grandsons aged 14, 11 and five, said the siblings usually try to write about everything that has happened in the year.
However, she admitted it was harder to do so in 2013.
Joyce, from Redditch, Worcs., said: “It has been hard to write something this year.
“Not much has happened in 2013, obviously in 2012 there was the Olympics and I’m not sure much will be happening in 2014.
“I know the football World Cup is coming up but we’re not really interested in that so I think it will just be a nice small message this year and luckily we won’t have to add any more pages.
“He will be delivering it to me this year and then I will send it back, I’m planning to say ‘Merry Christmas, I hope the weather doesn’t keep us apart’.
“It is amazing how this has lasted after 46 years from a simple joke.
“My brother is quite the joker in the family, he used to make crackers and put what we thought were expensive gifts in them, like watches and tie clips.
“Although when people began to use them they realised they were broken and Ken was just getting rid of his old things, it was quite funny.
“Once I’ve sent the card to him for Christmas, I’ll have to get it back so I can send it again for his birthday in January.
“We plan to keep it going until the day we die.
“It has turned into a family tradition and it is great, it keeps the family close and will always keep us connected.”