Message in a bottle tossed into sea finally found
It plays like a scene out of a movie; more than two decades ago, a 10-year-old schoolgirl threw a bottle into the sea off the coast of Hull as she embarked on a family holiday, hoping to get a response from a stranger in a faraway land.
Inside the bottle was a scrawled letter from Zoe Lemon, a youngster with a love of "ballet, playing the flute and the piano", who had just boarded a ferry bound for a holiday in Germany.
She told her prospective recipients of her pet hamster and fish, both called Sparkle, and her parents who were both teachers.
Miss Lemon, of Salford, Greater Manchester, soon forgot about her act of whimsy, eventually marrying and having a child herself.
But this Christmas she was staggered to receive a reply after 23 years.
The mother – whose surname is now Averianov – was amazed when her parents called for Christmas and said they had post from Europe.
It turned out to be a reply to her letter from Piet and Jacqueline Lateur from near Rotterdam.
Mr Lateur was walking his dog in the Oosterschelde dykes, near where he and his wife live in Serooskerke, when he found the bottle with Zoe’s letter inside.
Mrs Averianov, 33, who works in a jewellery shop, said: 'It’s been a bit crazy really. My parents came to visit on Christmas day and they had this letter from Europe addressed to my maiden name, Lemon.
'The first thing I saw was my handwriting as a child and my little letter saying who I was and about my pets and my hobbies. It made me a bit emotional.'
Since receiving the letter, Mrs Averianov has been in contact with Mr Lateur via email and asked to see photographs of where the bottle was found.
He told her: 'I am keeping your little letter on my piano. I know you are no longer a little girl but you asked me to write you so I have.'
Mrs Averianov is amazed how the leter arrived undamaged after “bobbing around for years”.
Mrs Averianov’s father, John Lemon, 68, had encouraged his daughter to throw the message into the sea on a family holiday and now is considering visiting the place where the bottle was found.