"Love may be in the air but it is no longer in the mail, according to a new competition to revive the lost art of love letter writing.
Run for the first time last year in the United States when it attracted 5,000 entries, philanthropist Henri Zimand's competition to find the best written love letters has now opened to entrants from Britain as well.
'In this age of one-line e-mails and abbreviated text messages, the simple art of letter writing has all but been forgotten,' he said. 'Writing a love letter is a dying art and to me that is a real shame.'
The competition is dedicated to the memory of Zimand's wife Anda who died from breast cancer in 2003 aged 49.
'No one should underestimate the power of a letter that truly comes from the heart and with every letter I receive, I am moved, and remember my Anda,' Zimand said.
For each of the first 10,000 letters submitted to the website www.AndaSpirit.com in Britain or www.AndaSpiritUSA.com in the United States, Zimand will make a contribution to a cancer facility in the area where the letter originated.
If inspiration is needed, an example of one of last year's entries is as follows: 'Heartfelt and true, your beauty shines through, with love, emotion and everlasting devotion, I yearn to marry you.'
The winners -- to be selected by a panel including Zimand and judges from the Romance Writers of America -- will be flown to New York and, on the morning of St Valentine's Day, taken on a romantic horse-drawn carriage ride in the city."