February 3, 2016 8:03 pm
Updated: February 3, 2016 8:22 pm

Edmonton woman reunited with childhood friend on Dutch TV show

Betty Bartelds sits in her Edmonton home sifting through old photos.

Brad Gowan, Global News

EDMONTON – After spending years apart, an Edmonton woman was reunited with her childhood friend for an episode of a popular Dutch television show.

Betty Bartelds was 16 years old when she left Holland and her dear friend Appie Vanderschoot behind.

Distance and the passage of time did little to diminish their connection, though they feared they might never see each other again.

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They wrote letters and phoned one another and eventually began using email to stay in touch.

Thanks to Dutch television show The Wishing Tree, the twosome got the chance to reconnect in person. Eighty-year-old Bartelds was recently whisked away to Holland for a tearful and long-anticipated reunion with Vanderschoot.

At the start of each episode, a wishing tree is planted in the yard of an elementary school. Kids get the chance to write down a wish they would like to see come true.

The catch: It has to be for someone else.

Vanderschoot’s grandson wished for her to be reunited with her long time friend now living in Canada.

“I couldn’t tell you what I felt. I mean, everything was emotional,” Bartelds told Global News.

“I think even the television crew had tears in their eyes.”

The women spent two weeks catching up and they now use Skype to stay connected.

Their story can be seen on The Wishing Tree later this month.

© 2016 Shaw Media

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