The Hibberts spotted the plastic bottle caught in branches while walking along the River Clwyd in North Wales and initially picked it up to throw it away before seeing the message inside.
Image: Cat Hibbert)
A bottle containing a message written by school children 36 years ago has been found in a river in North Wales.
The remarkable discovery was made by a family who were walking along the banks of the River Clwyd in Denbigshire.
The Hibbert family saw something caught in branches at the rivers edge.
Initially, they thought the plastic bottle was rubbish and picked it up to throw it away but then spotted what looked like a note inside, the Daily Post reports.
Cat Hibbert said: “We were so excited when we saw the piece of paper and realised there could be a message inside because this kind of thing only happens in books or films.
“It’s like a child’s dream come true and my children couldn’t wait to open it up and see what was inside.”
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Steffan Hibbert, 4, Sophie Birkett, 5, Rowan Hibbert, 7, and Isabel Birkett, 8, helped find the bottle.
But the family had to wait until they got home to fish out the letter, which had been jammed inside the bottle for more than 30 years.
Inside they found an astonishing letter written by school children from Ysgol Y Llys in Prestatyn, dated December 4, 1985.
Mrs Hibbert said: “As soon as I read the letter I knew we had happened across something very special.
“To think that it was written by school children all those years ago is incredible.”
The mum-of-two said she was surprised that the letter, written in English on one side and Welsh on the other, was so well preserved after more than three decades.
The message said: “Dear finder, We standard three and four have been following the afon Clwyd [the river].
“We dropped this bottle in forest Clocaenog.
“Would you be kind enough to send a letter or phone the number 3019 to tell you found it.
“Thank you, on behalf of the children in standard 3 + 4.”
Aside from the date at the top, there are some other clues that the letter wasn’t written recently.
The phone number in the letter is only four digits long- phone numbers in the UK began to change to five or six digits in the 1980s following a number shortage.
The children also wrote that they were in standard three and four, which is believed to be year five and six today.
The plastic bottle was found at the edge of the River Clwyd in Melin y Wig, which is only around six miles from Clocaenog Forest where it is believed to have started its journey almost 36 years ago.
Mrs Hibbert said the discovery has left her wondering where the bottle has been for all of this time and said sons Rowan and Steffan are ‘desperate’ to get in touch with the school pupils who left the bottle all those years ago.
She said: “I posted it on social media to try and find anyone that may have been involved at the time.
“It would be wonderful to find out more about the story and would be great for children at the school now to get involved and learn about the history.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.