Pastor's plastic bottle message

STEPHEN PULLINGER A Norfolk pastor was last night unrepentant over his latest botched attempt to spread the word of God through a message in a bottle.Les Potter, 66, said he and wife Joan had been throwing bottles with Christian messages in them off Gorleston pier for more than a decade - and it was the first time they had been washed back on to the resort's famed blue flag sands.

STEPHEN PULLINGER

A Norfolk pastor was last night unrepentant over his latest botched attempt to spread the word of God through a message in a bottle.

Les Potter, 66, said he and wife Joan had been throwing bottles with Christian messages in them off Gorleston pier for more than a decade - and it was the first time they had been washed back on to the resort's famed blue flag sands.

The pastor, who was berated in yesterday's EDP by two indignant dog walkers who found 59 large plastic lemonade bottles on a 20m stretch of the beach, said he could not understand the mistake as they always carefully checked the wind and tides.

“We intended the bottles to reach foreign shores and we certainly did not intend to dump rubbish or spoil the beach. If someone had rung me about them I would have come and collected them,” he said.

Mr Potter, a retired British Gas manager, heads the Upper Room Christian Fellowship which meets at The Tabernacle in nearby Cobholm, and the group's 50 followers collect bottles for the purpose.

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He said: “It is important to spread the word of God and I got the idea of recycling bottles for the sake of the Gospel when I read about messages being sent by helium balloons in Vietnam. My wife and I take the bottles to the end of the pier, usually at night, and say a prayer asking God to bring people who need the messages to the bottles.”

Mr Potter, who turned to God himself 26 years ago at a time when he was feeling suicidal, said they were not discouraged by the fact they had only ever received one response - an email from Germany.

His wife said she was saddened by the outraged response of the dog walkers because finding a message in a bottle on Yarmouth beach had been a dream of hers when she was a child. “They are taking all the fun out of life these days,” she said.

Mr Potter's Free Church group is best known for its work collecting goods for the International Aid Trust, which sends aid to Eastern Europe.

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