A handwritten love letter to Leeds penned by a travelling Yorkshireman has lifted locals’ spirits after being spotted on a street in the city centre.
The letter, titled ‘Dear Stranger,’ is brimming with kindness and positivity for the city and the people who make it the special place that it is – calling Leeds ‘a city full of souls who silently care.’
Written by author and Yorkshire-born lad Jay Ventress, the heartwarming note has been bringing a smile to the faces of passers-by after appearing on Boar Lane this week.
Jay’s letter, which has been taped to a post box on Boar Lane, reads: “Dear Stranger, My name’s Jay. I’m a travelling writer wandering from city to city, country to country, posting letters like these across the walls with the hope to spark a fire in a stranger’s eye.
“Now I’m in Leeds I’m talking to you. I was posting my letters one week ago, it was a windy evening.
“I was carrying my letters, between my arm, and on this posting session I tripped, dropped my letters and out they blew across the sidewalk. At least fifty of them. Off they went, with the wind, never expecting to see them again.
“But to my surprise, the six random strangers around me dispersed up the street to recover my letters, all fifty of them.
“The moment took my breath away, it reminded me how beauty often has a strange way of showing itself in times of misfortune.
“You can’t see stars in the sunlight. And this moment showed me what kind of city Leeds is, a city crowded with strangers who don’t want to see another fall. A city full of souls who silently care.
“And you, reading my letter, are another one of those souls. Thank you.
“Acts like these prove humanity is alive in this town, the media might make out the world to be a soulless void, but if we open our eyes to the beauty around us, we’ll find traces of humanity burning bright and loud.
“Thank you for reading, you lovely human. Rock and Roll! -Jay. ”
The 26-year-old Yorkshireman’s letter writing campaign first began as a coping mechanism at the start of the pandemic, because, as he says himself, “at the time everything felt dark, I was a Brit trapped in Australia, so to brighten up my life I began writing little letters to make a stranger smile to make me smile.”
To date, his letters have spread far and wide across the globe – appearing in the UK, Belgium, Australia, and the United States of America.
In a post shared to Jay’s Instagram of different responses from around the world, one like-minded Brit wrote: “Hi! I hope you are well! I saw your note in Manchester today, and I just wanted to share how touching I found it.
“As someone who has also struggled in the past, I keep a long notes list in my phone of ‘moments of unsaid love’ that I witness to remind myself of how much around us goes unnoticed.
“It was so lovely to read something from someone likeminded, and I saw your note just when I needed to be reminded myself. Thank you again, I hope you have a lovely day Jay!”
The 26-year-old letter writer originally hails from Yorkshire, but moved to Manchester as a teenager and worked in the city before deciding to travel the world four years ago.
To follow his letter writing campaign, head over to Jay’s Instagram here.
Featured image – The Hoot Leeds