About International Pen Friends


International Pen Friends was founded by Neil OŽDonnell in Dublin, Ireland on April 7, 1967. Neil's motivation was strong. Inspired by his experiences as a young child growing up during World War II, his vision was to give people in all age groups, from every country, the opportunity to gain penfriends and promote world peace and understanding through sincere correspondence.

From its humble beginnings in a shoe box, International Pen Friends has grown to be regarded as the World's Greatest Pen Friend Club, providing more than 2 million people aged from 8 to 80+ years with pen friends and offering services in six languages.

Given IPF's success was achieved long before the Internet became popular, and has continued in a technologically advanced society, is a reflection of the never-ending motivation and determination behind IPF, and high quality of the penfriend service it provides.


International Pen Friends has had to overcome many political and economic challenges to gain members in certain countries. During the 1980s and early 1990s, IPF provided a free penfriend service to over 40,000 people in Eastern Europe, giving those people the opportunity to experience the benefits of global friendship, an opportunity they otherwise would not have been able to enjoy.

To this day, IPF has continued to provide many free and heavily subsidised memberships to people in countries facing severe economic hardship.

International Pen Friends is completely self-funded by its members, and it is not politically or religiously inspired since its goal is to unite the world, regardless of political or religious differences.

From Ireland to Australia

Julie Delbridge presents Neil O'Donnell with flowers

Neil continued his great and tireless work for IPF until 31 January, 2001, when, at the age of 68, he retired. However, his deepest wish was for International Pen Friends to continue and on 1 February 2001 Julie Delbridge, the former IPF representative and Australian Coordinator since 1990, took over the role of President and relocated IPF's Head Office to Australia.

New Initiatives

Since moving to Australia, Julie and the IPF Head Office team and worldwide representatives have worked on various initiatives to continue IPF's growth and success. These have included the re-launch of IPF's magazine People & Places into a modern dynamic publication, the publication of a booklet on letter writing and penfriend hints and the development of a new state of the art computer database. The new database provides many enhanced features for all members, and has given IPF the opportunity to greatly expand its School Class Service.

In order to give you the widest possible country choice for penfriends, International Pen Friends has appointed a number of Club Agents worldwide, most of whom initially joined IPF as members and have been inspired by their own experiences of writing to penfriends, thus wishing to assist IPF in its goals.

International Pen Friends looks forward to providing an ever-increasing number of people worldwide with the opportunity to enhance their life through the countless dimensions of the penfriend hobby.

Why wouldn't you enrich your life by joining thousands of others who have already discovered the world with us? Apply now!