Man stunned after message in a bottle he threw out to sea returns 24 years later


A message put inside a bottle and thrown out to sea 24 years ago has made its way back to the owner.

When he was six years old Alex Melling put the note inside a plastic bottle and threw it into the water.

Alex was looking at a local Facebook page called Group Hindley Residents when a post containing his old childhood address caught his eye.

He then saw his name mentioned in a post that he “Just could not quite believe,” the Manchester Evening News reports.

A man called Rex Winter said he was trying to track down an Alex at that address after his son and daughter had discovered a message in a bottle in a remote bay in Scotland.

The post read – ‘Help with a Message in a Bottle:

“This summer my kids found a message in a bottle on a remote beach in the west of Scotland. It seemed to be old, and the message inside appeared to have been written by a child.

“The message inside was from somebody called Alex, (no surname given) who gave an address of 27 Gilbert Street, Hindley.

“There was no other information, date or otherwise.

“My daughter wrote to Alex at that address some time ago but has had no reply.

“He/she may well have moved and/or the house is now unoccupied.

“I don’t know if the bottle is 5 years old or 30 years old, but I’m sure that Alex would be interested to learn where it ended-up!

“Is Alex reading this? Or does anybody know who Alex might be?’

30-year-old Alex, who had lived at that address as a child but had moved when he was aged 12, responded via Facebook.

He spoke to Rex’s daughter Izzy, 17, who had found the bottle while on holiday along with brother Freddie, 22 and their friends Liam Kelly, 22 and Cat Jones, 19.



The message inside the bottle
The message inside the bottle

Izzy, who lives in Newcastle, said: “We were camping in Scotland and had taken a boat out in Garlieston, around Wigton Bay.

“We anchored the boat and went to explore in the caves.

“Freddie found the bottle washed up and we could see a message in it.”

The message was written on the back of a child’s birthday party invitation and read: ‘If found please return to 27 Gilbert Street, Hindley. Thank You. Please address to Alex.’

Izzy says they wrote to the address but when they received no response, their dad Rex, a solicitor, 62, decided to try and find Alex on Facebook.

Izzy says: “My dad got really into it.

“He found a Facebook group called Hindley Residents and posted up that we were looking for Alex with a picture of the bottle.”



The note inside
The note inside

Schoolgirl Izzy says they were all excited when Alex got in touch and they posted the bottle back to him.

She says: “I was doing my homework and I got a message from my dad saying: “I found him.”

“I was so excited. I messaged Freddie, Liam and Cat and we couldn’t believe it.

“We were just like: ‘wow’.”

Since then, Alex tragically lost his mum Valerie Melling to cancer when he was just 17 and is “in disbelief” that their message in a bottle is now safely back in his hands.

Alex says the bottle was posted to him with a bottle of Jack Daniels as a celebratory gift and he has written a letter of thanks to the Winter family.

He says that poignantly, they were trying to find him around the time of his mum’s birthday.

Alex says his grandmother Lilian Wetherby, 86, confirmed the message was in his mum’s handwriting and a copyright date on the invitation was 1997 – when Alex would have been aged six.

He says his grandma was “very emotional” when she saw the handwriting of her daughter, who died of cancer aged just 49.

Alex says he has a vague recollection of throwing the message to sea, although he can’t remember where they were.

He said: “I have a vague memory of it happening.

“Although I don’t know where we were at the time.

“Reading my mum’s note was really nice as it was her handwriting and her words.

“My brother Daniel was buzzing and my grandma was really emotional.

“I will be keeping the bottle forever now with some other keepsakes. I can’t quite believe it.”

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