- The balloon was one of 300 released as part of a school science and geography project
- Some helium balloons made it to Denmark and Holland
- Pupil Joshua Blackaby’s balloon travelled over 10,500 miles to Australia
- It was found in East Kurrajon New South Wales by a girl called Millie
When pupils at the Wyndham Primary Academy in Alvaston, Derby released 300 balloons filled with helium as part of a school project they never could have imagined that one helium balloon would make it all the way to Australia.
Six-year-old Joshua Blackaby was stunned when he received a letter from a girl called Millie, telling him that she had found his balloon in her garden near Sydney in Australia. The balloon had travelled an impressive 10,545 miles after being released last December.
The balloon release was an experiment to help children learn about geography and weather patterns. While some of the balloons made it to Denmark and Holland, none went as far as Joshua’s. He said: ‘I can’t believe the balloon went all that way. I am looking forward to writing back to the girl.’
Susannah Hemmings who works at the school explained: ‘On our return from the February half-term holiday, a letter arrived from Australia addressed to one of our pupils, Joshua Blackaby. With great excitement he opened it in front of his class to reveal the balloon tag and a letter from a little girl called Millie who had found the balloon and tag in a tree in her garden in East Kurrajong, about 50 miles from Sydney in New South Wales.’
Ms Hemmings said that the balloon’s formidable travels is now the subject of literacy work. ‘The children are looking into the possible flight the balloon would have taken and writing stories about the adventures and sights and sounds on its journey.’
There have been cases of balloons being found in Hong Kong after release from the UK. Charlie Powell from the Met Office said that although it wasn’t unheard of for helium balloons to be swept up into a low part of the jet stream and travel such distances, chance of it happening again were very low.