Swede dreams for bottle boy

Nathan Conn
Nathan Conn

WHEN youngster Nathan Conn launched his plea for a new pal into the North Sea, little did he know he would get a reply from Sweden.

After weeks of waiting patiently for a reply to his message in a bottle, the eight-year-old was rewarded with a postcard which said: “hej från Sverige” (Hello from Sweden).

His letter, signed with a smiley face and sealed in a pop bottle, had travelled hundreds of miles from Seaham to Sweden.

Now Nathan, from Peterlee, has struck up a friendship with great-grandmother Birgitta Hanglund, whose husband Kent picked out the bottle from his haul of lobsters as he fished on the coast of the Scandinavian nation.

Her notes have detailed family life in their home town of Smogen, the bitter temperatures they face as well as questions about Nathan’s school and home life, his holidays and what he got for Christmas.

Nathan’s latest reply will include a photograph of him with his dad Alan 32, a primary school teacher, mum Natalie, 32, a support assistant at Glendene School in Easington Colliery, and brother Liam, 11, who attends Shotton Hall Academy.

Nathan, eight, said: “I was just bored one day and didn’t know what to do and had heard about people putting bottles in the sea, so I thought I would do it.

“I just thought it would sink to the bottom of the sea or get stuck in a cave.

“When I got the postcard, I was just amazed.”

The Howletch Primary School pupil added: “It went all that way over the North Sea, which is really cool.”

Dad Alan admitted he was sceptical anything would come of the message and tried to soften the blow to Nathan it might not work as the weeks went on – until the response arrived after two months.

“He came in with the postcard and we just thought ‘wow’.

“As we watched the bottle go, it looked like it would just get washed up on the beach or around the corner, and we were throwing stones at it to cause a ripple.

“Of course we never thought it would get that far.

“It’s lovely they’ve become friends.

“Some people if they found it would think nothing more of it, but it’s really great she’s taken the time out to write the postcard and continued to write as well.”

Nathan’s story comes just days after the Mail told how Lauren and Ben Goodwin, eight and five respectively, received a reply from a woman in Norway after throwing a similar message in a bottle into the sea off Hartlepool.