Newcastle family return message in a bottle to man 24 years later after finding it in Scotland

By Louisa Gregson & Sophie Finnegan

A family from Newcastle has returned a message in a bottle they found during a trip in Scotland to the man who wrote it with his mum - 24 years later.

Rex Winter along with daughter Izzy, 17, son Freddie, 22, and their friends Liam Kelly, 22, and Cat Jones, 19, discovered a message in a bottle in a remote bay in Scotland.

The message inside was from somebody called 'Alex' who gave an address of 27 Gilbert Street, Hindley, Wigan, so Izzy wrote to the address but sadly got no reply, Manchester Evening News reports.

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Determined to track down Alex, Rex joined Facebook Group Hindley Residents and asked for help to track down the mysterious writer of the message in the bottle.

Remarkably, Alex Melling, 30, saw the post and recalled throwing the bottle out to sea when he was six-year-old with his mum.

Message in a bottle discovered 24 years after it was thrown in sea (Submitted)

Rex's post said: "'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!

Freddie and Izzy Winter (Submitted)

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

Alex, who lives in Hindley, said he lived at the address included in the message as a child but had moved when he was aged 12, and responded via Facebook.

He said he "just could not quite believe" it and spoke to Rex's daughter Izzy, 17.

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."

Izzy says, 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."

Alex Melling and girlfriend Victoria (Submitted)

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.

Alex Melling (right) and mum Valerie with and Graham and brother Daniel (Submitted)

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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