In what feels like a scene from a film, a man has been reunited with a message he and his mum put in a bottle and threw out to sea – 24-years later.
Alex Melling, of Hindley, Greater Manchester, threw the old 7-up style bottle, filled with a note, into the sea as a six-year-old boy.
And now, thanks to a surreal post on the Hindley Residents Facebook group, he has been reunited with it – and with a piece of his mum who died of cancer aged just 49.
The Facebook post was made by local resident Rex Winter and was titled: "Help with a message in a bottle," Manchester Evening News reports.
He wrote: "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?"
Mr Melling had lived at the address during his early years, but moved when he was aged 12.
Having seen the post, he messaged Mr Winter's 17-year-old daughter Izzy to say that the bottle was his.
Newcastle-based Izzy 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 contents of the message, which was written on the back of a children's birthday party invite said: "If found please return to 27 Gilbert Street, Hindley.
"Thank You – please address to Alex."
Ms Winter continued: "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.
"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'."
Mr Melling's mum Valerie died when he was just 17 and he is still in shock that the message returned home – along with a bottle of Jack Daniels from the Winter family.
Alex added: "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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