Chippenham family touched by replies for late son
Messages in bottles sent out in memory of Chippenham man Robbie Day have been found off the Isle of Wight and France.
The bottles were cast adrift off Poole in July by his family and they have been touched and heartened by the replies they have received from the finders.
Mr Day died, aged 35, after collapsing outside a flat on River Parade, near The Bridge House pub, on June 1 this year.
His mum, Elaine Barron, said: “We’d just come back from holiday in Scotland. It was Saturday night, I got a knock on the door from the police at 2am and he was in the Great Western Hospital. We were heartbroken, he was my youngest son.”
Mr Day, who had long-term mental illness, died of multi-organ failure and a brain haemorrhage the next day.
Mrs Barron, 58, and Mr Day’s sister Natasha Day, 38, went to Poole in July and sent the messages out to sea in his memory.
His mum, a housekeeper, who lives in Pewsham, said: “He always wanted to travel, so now he is travelling. We wanted people to know who he was, because he was very special to us.”
Their message read: ‘We will miss you forever, we will think of you forever, we will love you forever’ and gave contact details for finders to let the family know how far the bottles had travelled.
One of the bottles drifted to the southeast coast of the Isle of Wight, where it was found by the Sandown and Shanklin lifeboat crew.
Second coxswain Richard Chantler said: “It intrigued me enough to turn the lifeboat around and bring the bottle on-board for further inspection. I was pleased to see it was in fact a message, a heartfelt memory from a family about a loved one.
“The bottle has done a very amazing journey, our coastline is scattered with rocks so it has surprised me it got all the way to us without being caught up.”
The crew were so moved by the message they decided to design their own and sent it out in Mr Day’s honour.
Mrs Barron said: “We have been very touched.”
The family have also received kind messages and photos from Cornwall, Hayling Island, off the coast by Portsmouth, and even 70 miles across the Channel. Bottles were spotted by someone staying in a Buddhist retreat in Normandy, and by a German family on holiday in Brittany.
Mrs Barron said: “We didn’t expect anything, we thought we’ll just put them in the sea and see what happens. There have been some lovely messages. It’s overwhelming that people who didn’t even know Robbie care enough to reply.”
Robbie, who lived in The Firs, went to Sheldon School and was a martial arts fan.