A message in a bottle that was thrown into the sea by six-year-old Alex Melling and his mother has come home twenty-four years later.
Alex, who lives in Hindley, says he was rolling on the Facebook group Hindley Residents when a mention of his old childhood address caught his eye.
He rolled back and then saw his name mentioned in a post he “just couldn’t really believe”.
A man named Rex Winter said he was trying to track down Alex at that address after his son and daughter 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 children found a message in a bottle on a remote beach in the west of Scotland. It seemed to be old and the message inside seemed to have been written by a child.
“The message inside was from someone named Alex, (no last name specified) who provided the address Gilbert Street 27, Hindley.
“There was no other information, date or otherwise.
“My daughter wrote to Alex at that address some time ago but has not received a response.
“He / she may well have moved and / or the house is now vacant.
“I do not know if the bottle is 5 years or 30 years old, but I’m sure Alex would be interested in learning where it ended up!
“Is Alex reading this? Or does anyone know who Alex might be?”
30-year-old Alex, who had lived at that address as a child but moved when he was 12, responded via Facebook.
He spoke to Rex’s daughter Izzy, 17, who had found the bottle during the holidays with brother Freddie, 22, and their friends Liam Kelly, 22, and Cat Jones, 19.
Izzy, who lives in Newcastle, said: “We were camping Scotland and had taken a boat out of Garlieston, around Wigton Bay.
“We anchored the boat and went to explore the caves.
“Freddie found the bottle washed 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 you find it, please return to 27 Gilbert Street, Hindley. Thanks. Please address Alex.
Izzy says they wrote to the address but when they did not get an answer, their father Rex, a lawyer, 62, decided to try to find Alex on Facebook.
Izzy says, “My dad really went into it.
“He found a Facebook group called Hindley Residents and announced that we were looking for Alex with a picture on the bottle.”
The schoolgirl Izzy says that they were all happy when Alex got in touch and sent the bottle back to him.
She says: “I did my homework and I got a message from my dad who said, ‘I found him. “
“I was so excited. I told Freddie, Liam and Cat and we could not believe it.
“We were just like, ‘wow.'”
Since then, Alex tragically lost his mother Valerie Melling to cancer when he was only 17 years old and is “in mistrust” that their message in a bottle is now safely back in his hands.
Alex says the bottle was mailed to him with a bottle of Jack Daniels as a celebration gift and he has written a letter of thanks to the Winter family.
He says that they clearly tried to find him at his mother’s birthday.
Alex says that his grandmother Lilian Wetherby, 86, confirmed that the message was in his mother’s handwriting and that the copyright date on the invitation was 1997 – when Alex would have been six years old.
He says his grandmother was “very emotional” when she saw the handwriting of her daughter, who died of cancer at the age of just 49.
Alex says he has a vague reminder to throw the message to the sea, even though he does not remember where they were.
He said: “I have a vague memory that it happened.
“Even though I do not know where we were at the time.
“Reading my mother’s note was really nice because it was her handwriting and her words.
“My brother Daniel was buzzing and my grandmother was really emotional.
“I’ll keep the bottle forever now with some other memorabilia. I can not really believe it.”