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Sheppey girl's message in a bottle found 20 years later in The Netherlands

A message in a bottle thrown out to sea by a little girl from Sheppey 20 years ago has finally washed up to shore – in The Netherlands.

The handwritten note was discovered 216 miles away across the North Sea in Vlieland, an island in the northern Netherlands.

And the person who stumbled upon it during a beach clean-up has contacted KentOnline in an attempt to track the writer down.

The letter was sent by Susie Hampton, who was aged 10 at the time.
The letter was sent by Susie Hampton, who was aged 10 at the time.

Pieter Schaper, who works for conservation agency Staatsbosbeheer, said he was amazed when he prised the message out of the plastic bottle and found it had been written by a girl named Susie Hampton, who lived in Kings Road, Minster, at the time.

The letter had been sent on its voyage across the ocean back in August 1997.

It was addressed to “whoever picks up this bottle”, and read: “Hi my name is Susie Hampton. I’m 10 years old.

“I put this bottle in the water on 25/8/97.

“Can you write and tell me where you found it and when?

“49 Kings Road, Minster-on-Sea, Sheppey, Kent, ME12 THL.”

The team found the message in a bottle during a beach clean-up last Monday
The team found the message in a bottle during a beach clean-up last Monday

Mr Schaper, who opened the letter and read it out to his colleagues, said: “Wow, this is special, this letter took 20 years to reach somebody.”

His colleague Anke Bruin-Kommerij, a forest keeper on Vlieland, said the whole team was excited about the find.

She said: “We were cleaning our beach with a lot of people, volunteers from the island and tourists, but also the local sea rescue station and Islanders who work here for community service.

“We do this every year.”

The beach where it was discovered
The beach where it was discovered

She added: “It would be so funny to track down Susie. She must be about 30 years old now and I hope she remembers her message in a bottle.”

It is understood Susie no longer lives at the address on the letter and she may now have a different surname.

Are you the Susie Hampton who threw the letter out to sea in 1997? Or do you know where she is now? Email us at timesguardian@thekmgroup.co.uk


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