Message in a bottle brings families together across the airwaves

RADIO Woking will know all about The Police’s Message In A Bottle, but now it has added its own twist to the lyric.

“I saw a post on Radio Woking social media from Sarah in Germany,” said station presenter Jon Andrews. “She was out collecting driftwood on a beach when she found a message in a bottle from Christopher, aged 6, with a Brookwood address.

MAKING WAVES – Christopher gets ready to launch his message in a bottle

“We had no idea how long the note had been in the bottle, or if Christopher would still be at the address, but I went round there and put a note through the door asking them to get in touch.

“I got a text from Anna, Christopher’s mum, who agreed to do a Zoom recording.

“I chatted to Sarah and her son Jax first, with Christopher and his mum in the waiting room. I was able to capture the moment when they saw each other for the first time, and it turns out Christopher’s mum is also from Germany.

“They plan to stay in touch and maybe visit each other one day, which is so lovely.”

Four-year-old Jax held up the bottle and message on the Zoom call, and Christopher’s mum, Anna-Lena Kleinert, filled in the details of how the bottle’s journey began.

“We were on the ferry from Harwich to Hook of Holland in July, on our way to re-uniting with Christopher’s grandparents in Germany for the first time in a year,” Anna said.

“Christopher had written, ‘Hello, my name is Christopher. What is your name? ______ Haha, that’s funny!’, leaving an underlined space blank like in his school textbooks. ‘Christopher, age 6, [Brookwood address]’

“Sarah picked up the bottle in Norddeich, northwest Germany, early this month, and contacted Radio Woking.

“We’ve been emailing and setting up the boys to be pen-pals, though considering their age and the language, it’ll be mostly us mums doing the pen-palling!

“A real-life meet-up would be great, but with COVID restrictions we travel as little as possible at the moment. Perhaps next summer, by the sea.”

An uplifting story certainly, but for Anna at least there is another message to be found.

“It was all Christopher’s idea to do a message in a bottle after seeing one either on telly or in a book, and it really made him want to write, not something that he usually enjoys.

“I was so pleased that after a year of home-schooling he discovered the power of writing to connect people, children in this case, that live far away.

“He wrote, and something really cool happened. I’ll try and remind him of that magic.”

Jon, too, sees a wider moral in the story.  “This proves the power of local radio,” he said. “I was able to connect them and they now have this beautiful friendship for them and their children.”

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