The mystery of a message in a bottle which washed up on a beach in Cornwall a year after being thrown into the sea in the US has finally been solved. The bottle, found by a ranger on Summerleaze Beach, contained a letter from 12-year-old Alexus Mond of Durham who had been visiting Atlantic City. Most of her return details had been bleached by the sun and were illegible. But the sender was discovered after a BBC News website story was spotted in Durham, North Carolina in the US. The girl’s school contacted US broadcaster NBC which set up a telephone call between Alexus, now a teenager, and beach ranger Alan Coltart. It is believed the plastic bottle washed up in Cornwall the week before Christmas after high winds and stormy seas.

When it was found, Mr Coltart said that after the bottle had travelled 3,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean for a year, he wanted to return it to its owner. “But when I heard the mystery had been solved, I was shocked – I just wasn’t prepared for it,” he told BBC News. Mr Coltart and staff at North Cornwall District Council thought Alexus came from Durham in the north-east of England. “I suppose you could put it down to a small – or local – attitude, but we assumed it was our Durham. Obviously we were completely wrong.”

Alexus told the ranger it had been a spur-of-the-moment decision to send the message in the bottle. “She was sitting on a boardwalk in Atlantic City with her mother, who’d just finished reading the book Message in a Bottle and she decided to give it a go,” Mr Coltart said. He said Alexus had also appeared shell-shocked during their transatlantic phone call. “I think it’s probably just too big for a 13-year-old to comprehend, but all in all, I’d say we’re quite happy with the ending.”

The council now plans to return the bottle to North Carolina, with some Cornish goodies, including some fudge and a book showing the local area.

Married to the amazing Sarah and raising Jakey, Daniel, Amelia, Josh & Jonah in our blended family. Passionate for Jesus, social work & sport.

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