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Message in bottle's 30-year journey from Forfar to Florida

The letter sent by a Primary 2/3 class in 1985 was discovered in the US decades later.

Chapelpark school: The Primary 2/3 class.
Chapelpark school: The Primary 2/3 class. SWNS

A message in a bottle which dropped in the sea by a primary school class in Forfar more than 30 years ago has been found in Florida.

The letter was cast adrift by members of the Primary 2/3 class at Chapelpark School, who were studying pirates in 1985.

In September last year Ruth and Lee Huenniger were inspecting street lamps after Hurricane Irma when Ruth spotted a plastic bottle about 500ft from the ocean.

She opened the note inside, which read: "We are learning all about pirates. We would like to see how far this message goes.

"Please write and tell us where you found this bottle."

Original letter: The message travelled 4000 miles.
Original letter: The message travelled 4000 miles. SWNS

Mr and Mrs Huenniger thought the letter was new as the it was wrapped in Transpaseal to prevent water damage while it travelled at sea.

The couple replied, saying: "Your message was found in Key Largo, Florida, USA, on September 29, 2017.

"Hope this was a fun experience for your class."

The Huennigers received a response on October 23 from Fiona Cargill, who was the teacher of the class.

Ms Cargill explained how she had retired 18 months ago, adding: "We forgot to put a date on the letter, but would you believe it, that bottle was sent on its journey more than 30 years ago?"

"The pupils who took part in this will now be in their mid-thirties!"

The Huennigers: Floridian couple who found the letter 30 years later.
The Huennigers: Floridian couple who found the letter 30 years later.

Ms Cargill said how one of the children, who was related to a trawlerman in Arbroath, had thrown the bottle off their boat when out at sea so it was less likely to wash back ashore.

Ms Cargill continued: "Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find the pupil who wrote the letter but looking back there's an error where they meant to write 'street', which I found quite amusing."

'It's amazing that it survived so many years and such a distance.'
Former Chapelpark School pupil

One of the pupils in the class, Lynne Robertson, said she was astonished the letter had survived its journey.

"It's amazing that it survived so many years and such a distance," she said.

"I'm pretty sure when we wrote the letter years ago we didn't expect it to make it to Florida."

Ms Robertson, who was seven when the message was sent and is now 39, said she had forgotten about the letter.

"I remember doing the project and dressing up as pirates for the day, so when one of the teachers made an appeal on Facebook I wondered if it had been our message," she added.

The Huennigers' letter was addressed to Chapelpark Primary School, but unbeknownst to them it had closed in 2007.

However, the postal worker who was given the their letter knew this and delivered it to the town's new school, Whitehills Primary.

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