Flood of criticism: Not everyone saw the romance in Craig Sullivan’s message-in-a-bottle plan to find new love.
Flood of criticism: Not everyone saw the romance in Craig Sullivan’s message-in-a-bottle plan to find new love. Facebook

Message in a bottle quest for love faces obvious backlash

A GRIEVING widower on a mission to find new love released thousands of bottles with messages inside them - and got told off for littering.

Craig Sullivan, who lost his wife 18 months ago, considered matchmaking services and online dating, but thought that was all a bit clichéd.

The 49-year-old hoped to find someone new to share his life with, and, inspired by the Police's song Message in a Bottle, came up with his plan.

"That started me thinking. If I could find some good places to throw some bottles, they might wash up on your shore," the message-in-a-bottle Romeo wrote in a blog post.

"You might open one and read a message.

Romantic rubbish: Sullivan was told off for littering when the bottles began washing up. Source: Facebook/Newton Stewart Flooding and helping page.
Romantic rubbish: Sullivan was told off for littering when the bottles began washing up. Source: Facebook/Newton Stewart Flooding and helping page. Facebook

His note in the bottles said: "If you're a lady looking for love, then today we might be the luckiest two people on the planet. I'd like to think there's a good reason this bottle ended up in your hands. Please get in touch or pass the message on."

He visited beaches around the UK over a period of one week to set his bottles free.

But when their discovery poured cold water on his plan.

One woman who saw about 30 bottles stuck on a single beach made contact. She respected the romance of the gesture, but reprimanded him for the rubbish.

She contacted Craig saying: "I went for a beach walk and we came across about 30 glass bottles with lids.

"They had lots of messages inside about finding love and at first, I thought it was some sort of dating thing but then I looked on his website and I got the idea.

"It's very romantic, but my friends are members of the Marine Conservation Society and they, and I, were very concerned about what it is doing to the environment."

She said she had tried to be diplomatic, hearing back from the man that he hadn't expected that many to wash up at once.

Craig Sullivan. Critics poured cold water on the widower’s plan.
Craig Sullivan. Critics poured cold water on the widower’s plan. Facebook

She said many people had supported her contacting Craig, with people upset about his littering.

She added: "I hope he does find someone and finds them in a way that is more environmentally friendly."

Another respondent suggested he join a beach clean-up, maybe he'd meet someone there.

Craig was also spotted putting bottles into the River Cree in Scotland.

Local firefighter David McCreadie was one of several locals to pull out the bottles from the river in Dumfries and Galloway.

David, who runs the Newton Stewart Flooding community Facebook page, told The Sun : "He's leaving a trail of destruction".

"People here are quite protective of the environment, and they are trying to restock the river with salmon.

"Maybe he should walk his dog and meet someone that way, rather than polluting the river."

Craig pulled the plug on his watery campaign in the wake of the backlash: amid the myriad accusations of littering an polluting the environment he was reported to the Scottish Protection Agency.

"There has been a rather unpleasant backlash to my intentions, which were always not to achieve this sort of reaction," he wrote.

"While I always welcome rational argument and debate, this has become too personal and nasty, so it's over.

"It has brought out a kind of irrational hatred and abuse out of proportion to the scale or the original intent of my project. It's been quite saddening to read all these this morning but it won't affect my optimism or plans - to find someone new.

"It's time for a pivot on this and a rethink - but first I will use the rest of my time this week, to take a tour of a few places I'd like to go.

"We will enjoy the rest of this trip, despite the unpleasant stuff that's happened."

But it wasn't all bad news, BBC reports.

In the wash-up to the romantic gesture gone wrong, he received "50 offers of companionship".

Backlash: Craig Sullivan calls off his campaign.
Backlash: Craig Sullivan calls off his campaign. Facebook
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