The search is on to find the author of a message in a bottle that was discovered on a beach in Jersey – 82 years after it was written.
Nigel Hill, 55, found the bottle on Tuesday morning while walking his pet dog, Reggie, and was pleasantly surprised to find a handwritten message on cardboard inside.
The message was signed by a John Stapleford and dated 5 September 1938, and miraculously it has survived more than eight decades in the water.
It read: "Will the finder of this bottle please communicate with: John Stapleford, 18 Fitzjohn Avenue, Barnet, Herts, England. With a photograph."
Nigel found the message on a beach at Bel Royal on the Channel Island of Jersey, and has now sparked a hunt to find the relatives of the writer.
Nigel said: "I was just walking along and saw it and thought it looked interesting. Then I saw the note inside.
"Unfortunately, I had to break it to get the note out."
The note was written on the back of an old cake box from Cawley Bros Ltd, and was placed in a Smith’s bottle, both of which were based on the island.
Nigel shared his find on Facebook and was soon able to track down the current resident of 18 Fitzjohn Avenue.
He said: "As is the way with Jersey, I had lots of people contact me to help and I have been able to track down the lady who currently lives in the property.
"She says she does not recall a John Stapleford and she has lived there for 30 years.
"But she has looked into the deeds of her home and found that a John Stapleford did buy the place in 1921.
"If he bought it then and was presumably in Jersey in 1938 it’s likely that he may have passed away.
"It would be really nice if I could give the bottle and the note back to members of his family. It could be an heirloom for them.”
According to the Jersey Financial Services Commission’s public registry, Cawley Brothers Limited was first registered as a company in 1931.
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It ceased to be registered on 3 August 1976. Another firm called Cawley Bros Bakery was registered in 1956 and was dissolved in 1993.
Birth and death records show that Mr Stapleton was born on 4 August 1889 and had worked as a civil servant as well as chief accountant with Customs and Excise.
It is believed he had a wife called Nellie and that he died on 2 December 1980, aged 91. His address then was St George House, 11 London Road, Norfolk.