Scottish students' message in a bottle travels 6 miles in 40 years

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March 11 (UPI) -- A woman cleaning up trash on a Scottish beach found a message in a bottle that had been launched about 6 miles away by a trio of schoolchildren in 1984.

Jenny Smith said she was filling bags with trash along the Tay Estuary in Angus when she found a bottle with something colorful inside.


"I picked up three bin bags of rubbish and found this bottle, and I thought there was something like a felt-tip pen inside it," Smith told the BBC. "I got it out and it was rolled up with an elastic band around it."

Smith unfurled the paper and discovered it was a hand-drawn map.

"The girl who drew the map had cleverly used wax crayon as the outside wrapping so it had protected it from some of the water that had managed to seep in," she said.

The map protected three messages written by a trio of 8-year-old students who attended Wormit Primary School in 1984.

The notes, which bore a pirate theme, featured the students complaining about their teacher making them do math.

"Please please help me," one of the notes reads. "I am one of the crew of Wormit Primary School and have been taken captive by the terrible Miss I. Elder. My name is Kelly McColm and I am age 8. Well back to Miss L. Elder, she makes us do awful work like sums and I am just managing to write this letter in private. PLEASE someone help me!"


Smith was able to contact that note's author, now named Kelly Laskiewicz, as well as the other two girls, Linda Bell and Anna Greenhalgh.

The women said the message in a bottle had been part of a school assignment when they were learning about pirates.

"It's a bit disappointing that it took 40 years to travel about six miles down the Tay. It would have been nice if it got a bit further," Bell told STV.

The women said they have remained close friends in the ensuing decades since they wrote the letters.

"We're all friends together. They are my oldest friends. We've been friends the longest out of everybody. So that's quite a nice story, as well," Laskiewicz said.

Smith said the bottle and its contents will be returned to Wormit Primary School.

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