A young family was left shocked when they received a reply to a message they sent in a bottle – from a family on holiday in Denmark.
Jamie Picken, 34, sent off the message into the North Sea from the shore at North Gare in January along with wife Hannah, 30, son Theo, five, and daughter Pearl, one.
Just three weeks later, he received an email from a German family staying in Lonstrup, Denmark – just 45km from the birthplace of Jamie’s great-great-grandmother – Caroline Larson, in Frederikshavn.
In the response, 12-year-old student Jannes explained that he was preparing a presentation about the message for one of his English lessons in his homeland.
He said he was staying in Denmark with dad Andreas and mum Barbara, and found the bottle washed up on the beach.
For Jamie, who is originally from Hartlepool and now lives in Norton-on-Tees, Stockton, it brought it home just what a ‘small world’ it is.
It’s a small world, because it’s very close to where my great-great-grandmother was born.Jamie Picken
He said: “We let the bottle go and my son was asking for a while what I thought had happened to it. I didn’t really think anything of it.
“Suddenly, I then got an email back from a family who had found it washed up in the North West area of Denmark, which is quite a distance.
“It’s a small world, because it’s very close to where my great-great-grandmother was born. We were really surprised when we received the email, and I found it quite emotional.”
He added: “In this day and age, when there’s instant messaging, you don’t think things like this still go on. It’s quite special.”
With Jamie’s link to Denmark through his grandmother, he was hoping the message would find its way to the country.
However, he wasn’t holding out much hope.
He added: “We were hoping it would reach Denmark, but didn’t think it would, especially after the recent storms.
“To get that message back was very special, and hopefully we’ll keep in touch.
“The email was quite similar to the message we had sent to them, just explaining who they were.”