Flying high

PUBLISHED: 12:24 27 April 2006 | UPDATED: 10:03 06 May 2010

ORGANISERS of a children s balloon race were astonished when winning tags made the long journey home to England – from as far away as Holland, Belgium, France and Germany. Children celebrated the opening of Bedwell Children s Centre in Stevenage by joinin

ORGANISERS of a children's balloon race were astonished when winning tags made the long journey home to England - from as far away as Holland, Belgium, France and Germany.

Children celebrated the opening of Bedwell Children's Centre in Stevenage by joining in an afternoon of special activities, where they signed up for the chance to release one of 200 orange and yellow helium balloons to win a prize if it was returned.

Each entry had a special tag so that whoever discovered it could reply, but organisers certainly never imagined they would fly so far.

The balloon which travelled furthest was returned from 40km from Heidelberg in Germany, where it was discovered by a couple on their way to visit a neighbouring town, who commented in their letter, 'this is a wonder, can a balloon fly from Great Britain to Germany?'

Two entries also floated to Holland. One was spotted drifting in the wind by a lagoon area called The Maasvlakte, near Rotterdam, where it was picked up by a man walking along the beach in his lunch break. He was so surprised by his discovery that he sent an aerial photograph and map back to accompany his letter, so that the child who won could track how far their balloon had flown.

In total 25 tags were returned, accompanied by letters from Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex as well as the long distance winners.

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