A woman who put a message in a bottle as a child has had a reply – FIFTEEN years after throwing it into the sea.
Leisha Barnard was eight years old when she and her cousin Emma Lambkin decided to try and find pen pals.
They wrote letters about themselves, describing their families and love of the Spice Girls, and sent them off in two plastic Coke bottles.
Years passed without any word and Leisha assumed the bottle she had put in the English Channel off Sheppey in Kent had long been lost.
She was stunned last week when Dutchman Joriam Jubbega contacted her on Facebook – and told her he had found her message.
The bottle had floated 200 miles to the Netherlands and washed up on the island of Texel where he was living.
Joriam, now 26, was an 11 year-old schoolboy when he found it shortly after Leisha had thrown it away but he could not read her address because of water damage.
It wasn’t until he re-discovered her faded note 15 years later that he took to the internet to track down the sender.
He looked up Leisha’s name on Facebook and decided to get in touch to let her know somebody did receive her scrawled note.
He wrote: “You don’t know me, and I don’t know if you are the right Leisha Barnard but several years ago I found a message in a bottle that was written by a girl that has your name.
“It’s not like this is my life quest. I just always wondered if this letter could have travelled that far.
“When I read you liked the Spice Girls I was like blurgh. But I don’t think I wrote that in the letter I sent to you.”
Leisha, now a 23 year-old estate agent, said: “I was actually jumping around when I got this message.
“I got really excited and then a bit emotional because things like this never happen. It’s crazy.
“I don’t think there would have been another way to find me. I know I’m the only Leisha Barnard on Facebook – not that I ever search for myself.”
Leisha, who still lives in Sheppey, added: “In the letter I just wrote where I was from and what I looked like. I also mentioned by brothers and my hobbies.
“I remember speaking about Spice Girls because I used to absolutely love them and that’s how I knew he had really seen the letter.
“I waited quite a long time and I was quite upset when I didn’t get a reply.
“But he has told me now that he took the letter into school to show all his friends and his teacher gave him the task of translating it into English.
“I am definitely going to stay in touch with him. I will speak to him on Facebook or give him my number.
“I won’t be writing again though. Maybe I will go over their and meet him one day.”