Opinions: Do you still write letters?

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Indy Lifestyle Online
KAJ WALLIN, assistant to Santa Claus, Finland: There are 40 elves in the head mail office in Lapland to help Santa with his letters. We answer all letters that come to Finland. It's a very sensitive moral thing - if children have faith, Santa must write back. In our best year we had 700,000 letters.

WILLIAM DONALDSON, aka Henry Root: Root isn't based on me: I'm a very bad letter writer. The idiocies you put in letters in your twenties are hair-raising - re-reading them causes sweating embarrassment. The last correspondence I had was with a schoolgirl aged 14 who started writing to Henry Root from her convent school. I was so frightened of her I took trouble over the replies. This was around 1980.

MICHAEL FRAYN, author: I write quite a lot of letters - I find it easier to express myself in writing. The fax has made writing letters more attractive: it has the speed and efficiency of the 19th century postal system.

BEVERLEY CUDDY, editor, Dogs Today magazine: Letter writing is alive and kicking - we get an enormous postbag, about 40 per cent of it from dogs.

KEITH FLETT, BT manager and newspaper correspondent: I suppose I must write about 30 letters a week, although I haven't counted. Some people can't understand how I can find the time, but the fact is that each one only takes me about five minutes or so. I write love letters too if I've got time - well, I suppose they're kind of personal-political discussions really. But now that my girlfriend has moved to a flat about 10 minutes from where I live there's no point really.

MARK RANKIN, soldier: Yes I do. I wrote a lot in the Falklands because there was a lot of time to fill, and there weren't any phones. Receiving letters affects a soldier's morale enormously.

BROTHER ROGER, monk: Well, at the moment I'm surrounded by about 3,000 Christmas cards, but I don't suppose that counts. Oh dear, I really don't know how many letters I write a week: I suppose it must be about half a dozen. Yes of course I use the phone: contrary to popular belief monks are citizens in the latter part of the 20th century.

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