A CHARITY cyclist who dropped a message in a bottle into the English Channel 34 years ago has met the woman who picked it up.
Adrian Lomas, 43, who runs a business in Tattenhall, near Chester, was a nine-year-old schoolboy when he threw the bottle into the sea on the way back from a trip to the Channel Islands, never expecting to hear sight nor sound of it again.
Amazingly, the young Adrian received a reply only three months later from a nine-year-old schoolgirl, Emmanuelle Demeautis, who found his message in a bottle washed up on the beaches of the French coastal town of Cherbourg.
The two began writing and have remained in contact ever since but have never managed to meet up.
That all changed this week when Adrian, who is half-way through cycling the Tour de Force – the full Tour de France event which precedes the professional event – in aid of the charity, The William Wates Memorial Trust, met up with Emmanuelle and her daughter after she had seen his progress during his challenge on Facebook.
Adrian, who is managing director of digital agency, Blueleaf, said: “It was such an amazing thing to finally meet up with Emmanuelle face-to-face after all these years.
“Emmanuelle left home at 7am on Wednesday and made the two-hour trip to meet me for the first time on the causeway of the Mont Saint-Michel – 34 years after we first started writing to each other.
“It was a really emotional meeting, we both know each other so well, both have families and are interested in similar things. Her father was a champion cyclist and her cousin is working with a cycling team.
“We wrote for many years and, at one stage, we planned to meet in Tahiti but, for one reason or another, it didn’t happen.However, thanks to the power of Facebook, Emmanuelle spotted that I was riding the Tour de Force and got in touch.”
Adrian, who is one of only 40 cyclists taking on the full Tour de Force challenge, told how both his and Emmanuelle’s families are planning to meet up after he completes the event.
He added: “I can’t believe that after throwing the bottle off the ferry on the way back from my holiday when I was nine, that Emmanuelle found it on the beach when she was walking her dog. It’s just amazing.”
Adrian has raised nearly £4,000 for the William Wates Memorial Trust so far and is hoping to raise a lot more. To make a donation visit www.bmycharity.com/ AdriansTourDeFrance.
Adrian has been keeping his followers up to date with his progress via his tracking website and his blog www.blue-leaf.co.uk/tour-de-france/. Keep checking the tracking website to see how Adrian is getting on adrianstourde france.com/event/tdf
See full story in the Chester Leader