• Tracey accidentally deleted her first text message and immediately vowed to never kill off another
• She’s written out every message and put it in a book
A woman obsessed with texting has kept every one of the 100,000 messages she’s received since her first in 1999.
Tracey Moberly, 47, has only ever deleted one text - her first - and swore never to get rid of another one.
She can document her life through the messages, from the breakdown of her marriage to a poignant moment of connection with her father after his death.
She has now saved around £10,000-worth of messages, writing them down of scraps of paper when her phone ran out of storage space and transferring them to 30 journals.
‘People are so honest in texts - I love that I can document everyday conversations and they will last forever,’ said Ms Moberly, an artist who has now published her text conversations as a book.
‘Some people think I’m obsessive, writing down every message I receive, but I love looking back at old messages.
‘It’s like keeping a diary. All my friends say they wish they had kept important texts or ones which meant a lot to them.
‘I’m lucky that I can go back to reading those messages any time I want.’
Ms Moberly owns messages from celebrity author Howard Marks, artist Banksy and musician Pete Doherty. Yet her most treasured are those that tell a story - be it funny, surprising or meaningful.
‘It’s difficult to pick a favourite text I’ve had over the years, but there are definitely some which stand out,’ she said.
‘I had a message from a friend once which said: “Call me urgently and ask for Elizabeth, she will pass you on to me,” and then listed a phone number.
‘When I rang the number, it was an answerphone for Buckingham Palace. I sent it to all my friends.
‘The most poignant message I’ve ever had was one I found on an old phone of my dad’s that I started using.
‘He had passed away a couple of years before, and I opened up his old phone.
‘There was one unopened message on it that just said: “It’s dad.” I think he must have started to type a message and accidentally sent it to himself - but it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end.
‘It just goes to show the power of text messages and how important they can be to our lives.’
Ms Moberly got her first text on a Sony Ericsson and now receives messages on an iPhone.
She has recorded friends’ reactions to major world events, including 9/11 and the Haiti earthquake, after she had been working in the Caribbean country just days earlier.
‘It was a bit difficult writing them all down,’ she added. ‘I used to have to jot messages down on scraps of paper if I was out and later transfer them to my journal.
‘In 2005 I found a great computer program which downloaded them from my phone on to my computer.’
Recalling her first message from 12 years ago, she said: ‘I didn’t even know what text messaging was until a little envelope popped up on the screen one day.
‘I had to ask my friends what it was, and they helped me open the message and read it.
‘It was from a friend saying he wasn’t able to come to a catch up we’d arranged, and I was so amazed by the way he could send words to my phone, I accidentally deleted it.
‘I was really upset I’d lost it, so vowed never to lose another message again.
‘My marriage of 15 years had recently broken down and the next message I got was from a man asking me on a date.
‘As soon as I got the hang of texting, I was doing it all the time.’