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Henry’s message from Southwold reaches Germany via Calais!

PUBLISHED: 19:30 15 October 2018 | UPDATED: 10:34 16 October 2018

Henry Cox was surprised to get the reply from Germany Picture: JAMES COX

Henry Cox was surprised to get the reply from Germany Picture: JAMES COX


How far can you expect a jar to travel by sea from the end of Southwold Pier? To the heart of the German industrial area – via Calais.

Henry and Florence Cox were on holiday in Southwold in April Picture: JAMES COXHenry and Florence Cox were on holiday in Southwold in April Picture: JAMES COX

Six-year-old Henry Cox was on holiday with his family from Buckinghamshire and was looking for something to do on a wet April day during a holiday at the Suffolk resort – so he decided to send a message in a bottle to see if he ever got a reply.

Instead of a bottle, he used a pesto jar and thoughtfully included a £1 coin to cover the cost of postage for anyone who found the letter.

His father James warned him that he would probably never hear anything from it – but this week he did get a reply from the Maran family from the German city of Duisburg on the River Rhine.

The jar was found on a beach at Calais while they were on holiday in northern France and Henry, who is now seven, was thrilled at the response.

The letter Henry put into the jar Picture: JAMES COXThe letter Henry put into the jar Picture: JAMES COX

He said: “Before I got the letter I thought it would be washed down into the ocean but actually it was found by a family and I am really excited and happy about that.”

Henry and his sister Florence, five, had a good time in Southwold but were looking for something to do on the one grey day of their break.

Dad James said: “It was Henry’s idea. I warned him there probably wouldn’t be a reply but a week or so ago we got this letter from the family in Germany. It was a real thrill for Henry and his sister.

“We’ve looked up Calais and Duisburg on the map and it’s been good for him and Florence to learn how far messages can go.”

The reply from the German family who found the jar at Calais Picture: JAMES COXThe reply from the German family who found the jar at Calais Picture: JAMES COX

To reach the coast at Calais the jar had to negotiate its way through one of the busiest shipping routes in the world – and around wind turbines, a new obstacle for bottles or jars.

Putting messages in a bottle has been a feature of beach holidays for many years, and although Henry’s crossed busy shipping lanes to end up on a beach in northern France, its journey was short in comparison with some floating notes.

A message put into the North Sea near Sunderland turned up on a beach near Perth in Australia 17 months later – and a message thrown into the English Channel at Bournemouth ended up on a South Australian beach.

And compared to some it didn’t last long in the water – a message thrown from a ship in the Indian Ocean in 1886 was found on an Australian beach earlier this year!

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