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Lonely boy, 7, who moved house just before lockdown and didn't get to meet his new classmates receives more than 100 letters from around the world after asking for pen pals

Lonely boy, 7, who moved house just before lockdown and didn't get to meet his new classmates receives more than 100 letters from around the world after asking for pen pals
  • Harley Glen, seven, recently moved from Edinburgh to North Yorkshire
  • Due to school closures, he has been unable to meet any of his new class mates 
  • He received 130 letters after his mum used Facebook to find pen pals for him
  • Appeared on  This Morning today with mis mother Ashley, 33, and his stepfather 
A seven-year-old boy who was struggling with loneliness during lockdown has received over a hundred handwritten letters, after asking for pen pals.
Harley Glen, seven, was lonely after his mother Ashley, 33, and stepdad Simone moved to Harrogate, North Yorkshire, from Edinburgh just before lock-down - meaning Harley wasn't able to meet any of his new classmates or say goodbye to his old ones. 
He missed his friends so much that his mother posted an online plea for other children to get in touch and she received an overwhelming response, from people ranging from 18-months to 80-years-old and from as far as Massachusetts, USA.   
Appearing on This Morning today, Harley thanked all those who have sent him letters and gifts and Ashley admitted she was 'overwhelmed' by the kind responses to their post. 
Harley Glen, seven, (pictured) has received 130 letters from around the world, after his mother Ashley, 33, used Facebook to find pen pals
Harley Glen, seven, (pictured) has received 130 letters from around the world, after his mother Ashley, 33, used Facebook to find pen pals
Harley (pictured) told his parents that he was struggling with loneliness in lockdown, after they moved from Scotland to North Yorkshire
Harley (pictured) told his parents that he was struggling with loneliness in lockdown, after they moved from Scotland to North Yorkshire
He appeared on This Morning with his mother Ashley (pictured) and stepfather where he thanked everyone who sent him letters
He appeared on This Morning with his mother Ashley (pictured) and stepfather where he thanked everyone who sent him letters 
Ashley told : We were living in Edinburgh and we had to move a week earlier than planned,  as we saw how everything was happening. 
'We couldn’t say goodbye to our family and friends, we just had to up and leave. Iit snowballed from there. 
'A lovely lady said why don't you get onto the local radio so we did and people reached out.' 
Harley added: 'I just want to say to everyone watching this thank you for sending me letters.' 
Ashley told hosts Holly Willoughby and Phillip schofield (pictured) she received an overwhelming response, from people ranging from 18-months to 80-years-old and from as far as Massachusetts, USA
Ashley told hosts Holly Willoughby and Phillip schofield (pictured) she received an overwhelming response, from people ranging from 18-months to 80-years-old and from as far as Massachusetts, USA
Ashley received hundreds of messages on social media after asking parents if their children would want to become pen pals with Harley. Pictured: The seven-year-old posting a letter
Ashley received hundreds of messages on social media after asking parents if their children would want to become pen pals with Harley. Pictured: The seven-year-old posting a letter
 Among the post has been gifts such as photographs, sunflower seeds, books, hand woven key rings, handmade jewellery, drawings and stamps from around the world. 
Harley is now trying to write back to all 130 people who took the time to send a letter, including a number of elderly grandparents who contacted him to say they feel lonely too. 
Personal trainer Ashley joined a local Facebook group called Harrogate Mumbler and made a post asking if any other parents wanted their children to become pen pals with Harley.
His mum Ashley, 33, admits she did not expect such a big response from her Facebook message.
She said: 'I was completely shocked. Harley was really overwhelmed by them all - when you see them all together there are quite a few.' 
She continued:'We've had people from Australia and New Zealand send videos and Harley had a Skype call with a little boy in Osaka, Japan a few days ago.
'It's really really positive. The continued message we've had is 'don't feel down, you're not alone, people are thinking of you'.'
As well as communicating online, Ashley asked people to post letters to Harley's new school, Western Primary School, as she did not want to hand out her home address.
Harley (pictured) has been talking to his new classmates, since his school shared his address with parents of children in his year
Harley (pictured) has been talking to his new classmates, since his school shared his address with parents of children in his year 
She said: 'We went to go pick them up from the school and I originally thought the lady said eight - but she actually said 89.
'I was completely shocked when she handed me the bundle. We never expected to receive so many.' 
Ashley let the school share her address with parents of children in Harley's year, so he could start talking to his new classmates before starting year two.
Local families have since been hand delivering letters to Harley, who now has 120 pen pals to write back to.
Speaking about his all of his new found pals, Harley said: 'I was happy when I found out people wanted to be my friend.
Harley (pictured) spends around 20 minutes each day writing letters and then bikes to his nearby post box to send them to his new friends
Harley (pictured) spends around 20 minutes each day writing letters and then bikes to his nearby post box to send them to his new friends
'That's one of the things I like about lockdown.'
It takes Harley 20 minutes to write each letter and he spends just under two hours each day keeping up with his correspondence.
He then bikes to his nearby post box to send the letters back to his new friends.
Ashley added: 'Harley's writing and reading has improved dramatically. He is getting used to sitting down and focusing on a daily basis.
'It's now part of his routine. He tended to avoid writing as it's not his strong point, so this creates a whole new dimension to the issue and finally he's really enjoying it.
Ashley said Harley (pictured) has been able to learn so much, by getting to see so many different types of handwriting
Ashley said Harley (pictured) has been able to learn so much, by getting to see so many different types of handwriting 
'He is getting to see so many different types of handwriting and get to learn so much about so many people. It's also kept him away from YouTube for a bit.'
Ashley urged anyone struggling with loneliness to start writing letters like Harley.
She said: 'The time we have now to sit down, make a project out of it, walk to the big red box and post a letter is so much more personal and it'll mean so much more to the person receiving it.
'It's being kind beyond measure. I think it's just what we all need at the moment.'

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