A TROON beach cleaner was amazed to find a message in a bottle from three children in Northern Ireland as she bagged up litter.

Anne Smillie, 68, was out doing her regular clean up along at Barassie shore when she stumbled across the glass jar filled with three notes.

The volunteer with clean-up crew Friends of Troon Beaches was amazed to find written messages inside the jar washed up on the beach.

The letters were each written by Gary, 13 and Mya McKee, 11 and their half-sister Lilly Hughes, eight, who were visiting Cushendun on the Irish Causeway coast on their holidays.

Through the power of local news, she was able to reach out to the kids’ family and has sent out a selection of Troon gifts – but this time through Royal Mail.

Anne told the Advertiser: “I’m a volunteer with Friends of Troon Beaches.

“I live in Barassie so I regularly go along there.

“I just nip out on my own, my husband David drops me off at Western Gailes and I walk and pick up litter as I go along.

“It was a week last Sunday I spotted this jar. I was on the verge of chucking it in the bag but I noticed there was three bits of paper crumbled up inside it so I decided to keep it until I got home then have a look a look inside.”

Anne, a former librarian at Troon soon discovered messages that had been written by the three school children in Cushendun on the Causeway coast, which she instantly recognised after visiting the area a few years ago for a cycling holiday.

Anne said: “I was so surprised to see it was messages and from reading them I could see they were writing from Cushendun.

“I had a feeling that the tide would be liable to bring something to our neck of the woods.”

“It was lovely to see that children had the imagination to do something like that, especially in these days of smart phones and gadgets.

“I thought the best thing would be to try and find out who they are.

“In the case of Mya it was so nice to see she had put what her favourite colour is and that her favourite food is chocolate.

Anne managed to track down a local news website Causeway Coast Community who were able to track down the family.

Anne filled up a parcel full of souvenirs, including memorabilia from the Troon lifeboat shop, and sent it over to the children.

Lorna Hughes, the children’s auntie, said they were all buzzing to see that their message in a bottle had travelled so far.

She told the Advertiser: “They were absolutely ecstatic when it showed up in Scotland, they couldn’t believe that someone had found it.

“I showed them where Troon was on the map then Anne got in touch.

“It’s been amazing for them.”

“They were so excited when the souvenirs from Troon arrived, they loved it.”

Anne added: “I just want to add that Causeway Coast really helped solve the problem.

“I tried a number of Facebook groups with no joy. The Causeway Coast helped it find them in an hour.

“As a beach cleaner I wouldn’t encourage them throwing anything in the sea. I took the more traditional route of Royal Mail.”