Swimmer finds youngsters' message in a bottle

Swimmer finds youngsters' message in a bottle

ON MESSAGE: The message in a bottle she found while training in the Tees

TRAINING SWIM: Amanda Bell during a training swim for her cross-Channel challenge

TOP TEAM: Amanda Bell, centre, with members of her support crew Barbara Brown, left, and Johanna Barkwith

First published in News
Last updated
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CHILDREN who threw a message in a bottle overboard during a boat trip up the River Tees were delighted when it was picked up by an open water swimmer.

Members of the Darlington branch of the performing arts school Stagecoach left the message during a pirate-themed summer holiday pleasure cruise earlier this month.

It was picked up by Stockton teacher Amanda Bell, who was training for a cross-Channel charity swim.

Mrs Bell was so intrigued by the bottle that she tucked it into her swimming costume and read the message when she got back to dry land.

Before setting off on her cross-Channel challenge on August 5, she got in touch with the group and is planning to go and speak to them about her adventures next month.

But the story doesn't end there, because Mrs Bell stowed the message in the bottle in her support boat for her swimming challenge and threw it in the sea near the French coast.

So the youngsters from the Darlington stage school could yet see someone else get in touch if the message is picked up again.

Mrs Bell, a teacher at Our Lady and St Bede's School, in Stockton, has been training for the cross-Channel swim for the past two years.

She is a former teacher of Georgina Anderson, the 15-year-old from Marske, who died last year after a battle with cancer.

Mrs Bell decided to raise funds for the Teenage Cancer Trust and Cancer Research UK in memory of her former student.

Her initial £1,000 target has already been more than trebled, with funds raised now approaching £4,000.

Mrs Bell, 42, said: "The cross-Channel swim took 18 and a half hours because you have to go with the tides.

"When I found the bottle, it was on one of my last training swims before the Channel.

"I had set off from Yarm towards Preston Park and it was really strange when this bottle started to float towards me.

"I thought it was quite lucky to find the bottle in the water, I took it as a sign that things would go well."

Mrs Bell was supported in her cross-Channel swim by her children Joseph, 14, Adam, 12 and nine-year-old Emma.

Anyone who would like to sponsor her can still do so, at justgiving.com/teams/amandabellchannel

Comments (6)

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1:19am Thu 28 Aug 14

Colcat says...

So to sum up this article: teacher finds litter in a river she was swimming in, contacts and rewards those who littered, then teacher throws litter into the sea, admits it to newspaper.

This is disgusting and shameful behaviour from someone who should know better - being a teacher of the youth of today and a wild swimmer - someone who should be more aware than most of the the effects of littering on the rivers and countryside. The days of throwing a message in bottle being a naive, innocent, harmless and romantic activity have long gone, and should not be promoted by a teacher or by a regional newspaper.
So to sum up this article: teacher finds litter in a river she was swimming in, contacts and rewards those who littered, then teacher throws litter into the sea, admits it to newspaper. This is disgusting and shameful behaviour from someone who should know better - being a teacher of the youth of today and a wild swimmer - someone who should be more aware than most of the the effects of littering on the rivers and countryside. The days of throwing a message in bottle being a naive, innocent, harmless and romantic activity have long gone, and should not be promoted by a teacher or by a regional newspaper. Colcat
  • Score: -20

9:32am Thu 28 Aug 14

BJBCBH says...

Shame on you Colcat.
The newspaper is rightly celebrating the magnificent achievement of a local lady and much loved and respected teacher who trained for 2 years in order to swim the Channel, inspired by a young pupil's brave fight against cancer, raising £4000 for cancer charities, inspiring huge numbers of people and sacrificing a great deal of time, money and above all effort along the way.
The message in a bottle is an interesting part of that - and helped in the fundraising.
The article raises awareness of the charities and this incredible achievement and should be applauded.
Perhaps you would like to achieve something as amazing and positive? - and then the paper could write about that?
Shame on you Colcat. The newspaper is rightly celebrating the magnificent achievement of a local lady and much loved and respected teacher who trained for 2 years in order to swim the Channel, inspired by a young pupil's brave fight against cancer, raising £4000 for cancer charities, inspiring huge numbers of people and sacrificing a great deal of time, money and above all effort along the way. The message in a bottle is an interesting part of that - and helped in the fundraising. The article raises awareness of the charities and this incredible achievement and should be applauded. Perhaps you would like to achieve something as amazing and positive? - and then the paper could write about that? BJBCBH
  • Score: 18

3:27pm Thu 28 Aug 14

Gloriaswims says...

my goodness Colcat! So from everything that amanda has achieved this is all you have to say? Do you have any idea what is involved to achieve something like this? The soul searching that has to be done whilst swimming 18.5 hours non stop in the English Channel? The costs involved are more than the thousands that has been raised, which is totally funded by the swimmer in order to raise money for a charity very close to her heart. Amanda is a huge inspiration to many swimmers, me included. Well done Amanda .. we are all so proud of you :)
my goodness Colcat! So from everything that amanda has achieved this is all you have to say? Do you have any idea what is involved to achieve something like this? The soul searching that has to be done whilst swimming 18.5 hours non stop in the English Channel? The costs involved are more than the thousands that has been raised, which is totally funded by the swimmer in order to raise money for a charity very close to her heart. Amanda is a huge inspiration to many swimmers, me included. Well done Amanda .. we are all so proud of you :) Gloriaswims
  • Score: 11

2:03pm Tue 2 Sep 14

missmozza says...

COLCAT think you need to get yourself a life !!!!!!!!!! all that Amanda did for charity and you have the gaul to moan about a bottle ????? i mean really ? she has raised over £4000 up to now spent the first three weeks of the school holidays training for the swim , then the next week trying to get herself put right after the swim . i could rant more but i dont want to bring myself down to your level !!! WELL DONE AMANDA YOU ARE A SUPERSTAR . ( WELL 99.999999 of people think so !!! )
COLCAT think you need to get yourself a life !!!!!!!!!! all that Amanda did for charity and you have the gaul to moan about a bottle ????? i mean really ? she has raised over £4000 up to now spent the first three weeks of the school holidays training for the swim , then the next week trying to get herself put right after the swim . i could rant more but i dont want to bring myself down to your level !!! WELL DONE AMANDA YOU ARE A SUPERSTAR . ( WELL 99.999999 of people think so !!! ) missmozza
  • Score: 5

4:56pm Tue 2 Sep 14

Shaz Graham says...

Colcat........... What a ****!!!!!!!
Why oh why can't some people just get on with there own obviously very sad little lives!!!!!
Have you ever achieved anything close to what Amanda has????
Not only has she conquered the English Channel supporting a very worthy charity!! But she has also swam the Windermere dble swim for charity aswell.
Amanda Bell is probably the most amazing person a lot of people know & love!!! Yes I may be biased as she's my cousin but come on......
I think you should crawl back underneath what ever rock you came out of!!!!
And again let me say Amanda very well donexxx

Rant over!!!!
Colcat........... What a ****!!!!!!! Why oh why can't some people just get on with there own obviously very sad little lives!!!!! Have you ever achieved anything close to what Amanda has???? Not only has she conquered the English Channel supporting a very worthy charity!! But she has also swam the Windermere dble swim for charity aswell. Amanda Bell is probably the most amazing person a lot of people know & love!!! Yes I may be biased as she's my cousin but come on...... I think you should crawl back underneath what ever rock you came out of!!!! And again let me say Amanda very well donexxx Rant over!!!! Shaz Graham
  • Score: 5

7:45pm Tue 2 Sep 14

stevenwb says...

its unfortunate that there are some people in this world that would read a story like this & find a negative response. Amanda has raised a lot of money for a worthy charity sacrificing a lot of time money and effort. There must be something wrong in your life that you would read a feelgood story like this and find something to object to. I was angered by your response at first but on reflection you are not worth anyone's time or effort thinking about. We are all very proud of Amanda and 99% of people reading the story would be the fact that you are not one of them means nothing.
its unfortunate that there are some people in this world that would read a story like this & find a negative response. Amanda has raised a lot of money for a worthy charity sacrificing a lot of time money and effort. There must be something wrong in your life that you would read a feelgood story like this and find something to object to. I was angered by your response at first but on reflection you are not worth anyone's time or effort thinking about. We are all very proud of Amanda and 99% of people reading the story would be the fact that you are not one of them means nothing. stevenwb
  • Score: 2

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