Facebook solves Essex message in a bottle mystery

  • Published
The bottleImage source, Miles Taverner
Image caption,
The message said "if found please contact Chloe/Alfie, much love, Clacton-on-Sea, England", but it had an out-of-date phone number on it

An artist who found a message in a bottle tracked down the man who wrote it after he came up as a suggested friend on Facebook.

Miles Taverner discovered the bottle on the shore in his hometown of Burnham-On-Crouch, Essex, last month.

The note inside contained a phone number but it was no longer in use.

Alfie Hillier, who threw it in the sea eight years ago, later popped up on Mr Taverner's Facebook feed.

Image source, Miles Taverner
Image caption,
Miles Taverner regularly scans the shoreline, here on the Isle of Dogs in east London, for pieces of flotsam and jetsam

The message said: "If found please contact Chloe/Alfie, much love, Clacton-on-Sea, England."

Mr Hillier had registered his Facebook account years ago with his old phone number - the one that was in the bottle - and the social media site recognised Mr Taverner had tried to call it and then suggested to Mr Taverner that he should befriend him.

"It's amazing really. He popped up and was from the correct location and I just thought 'it must be him' so I sent him a message and we had a good chat," Mr Taverner said.

Image source, Alfie Hillier
Image caption,
Alfie Hillier lived in Clacton-on-sea at the time and worked on the pier but now lives in Harwich with his partner Jade

Mr Hillier, 28, said he wrote the message with a colleague called Chloe when they worked on Clacton Pier - further up the coast in Essex.

"I was in complete shock when Miles contacted me. I thought it was a wind-up," he said.

"I never thought it would be found. It brings back lots of memories for me about my time working on the pier."

Mr Taverner, 44, regularly scans the shoreline for flotsam and jetsam to create pieces of art.

He said solving the mystery had been "really exciting".

"I keep wondering where it has been all this time and why it wasn't found before," he said.

It is the second message in a bottle he has found, after coming across one from Holland when he was a little boy.

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