Bottled note’s sea journey
“It was simply a cathartic thing for us to do.”Sarah Adams, a 44-year old mother from the small Welsh town of Cwmbran, was explaining to a reporter why she had used Barbados to send tributes to her dead son in a tightly sealed bottle, hoping that it would travel to a destination and in the process let the finder know how she much she was thinking about 21-year-old James Prosser, a British Army private, who was killed last September in Afghanistan.“My message was all about James, how much we loved him and how much we missed him,” Adams explained. “I was just chatting with James.”Seven months after getting a small boat and its driver to go as far off the coast of Barbados as possible, and after dropping her own letter and others from her daughter, Emma Prosser, 23, son Josh Newman, 16, along with a tribute from Emma’s fiancé, Tim Betts, into the Atlantic Ocean, some American workers engaged in the BP oil spill clean-up around Horn Island off Mississippi in the Gulf of Mexico found the bottle and its contents.
The Americans tracked down the Adams family in Wales and told them how much they cared.“Words cannot express our heartfelt sympathy for your family over the loss of James,” the Louisiana workers said in a note to the Adams’ clan.” “We extend our gratitude to James for the service he did in Afghanistan and we recognise the courage, the strength and the bravery it requires to serve in the armed forces… As we are certain he did before his death, James has continued to touch the lives of many people in positive ways. Finding that bottle is something we will never forget.”The bottle and the letters went on a 1 300-mile journey that began on January 5 after the mother, her two children and potential son-in-law drank a toast to James and then dropped the bottle in the water.“The [Bajan] boat’s driver seemed to think it would move toward Africa,” Adams recalled. “But we really didn’t think about where it would end up or whether anyone would find it.”
But why Barbados in the first place, why not the coast of Wales?Actually, she didn’t go to Barbados to send the tribute. She travelled to the country because of the memories of James that dominated the family’s thoughts after his death which was caused by a landmine that struck his armoured vehicle in Helmand Province.“In 2004, he won a holiday through a local radio competition,” she explained. “So, we all decided it was appropriate for us to go back to the island.”In addition, Adams told AOL News, Barbados reminded her of James’ spirit, especially his generosity and kindness.It was while she was relaxing on the beach in the Caribbean that the idea of the tribute in the bottle came to them.“It was just so beautiful, and I was thinking about how James would always get involved in water sports when we used to go on holiday,” said the mother. “I was looking out there and wishing he could be included. And the only way I could do that was to write to him.”The rest, as they say, is history.But not everything was sadness. It was while they were in Barbados that Betts popped the question to Emma on New Year’s Day and they began making plans for a 2011 wedding.