A woman who released a birthday balloon in memory of loved ones was amazed when it was discovered a month later on a balcony in Germany.
The pink star-shaped balloon, which included a heartwarming handwritten message, was found 300 miles away by a man and his dog Otto in Gummersbach, near Cologne.
Owner Andreas Marcel picked up the balloon, which had drifted onto his balcony, and launched a global appeal to track down the sender.
Eleanor Richardson, 29, had released the balloon in the UK on her birthday as part of a yearly tradition to remember her nan and her dad who passed away.
It was sent into the sky in Sheerness, Kent, on September 27 along with Eleanor’s handwritten note which read “I’ll send a part of my birthday to you.”
The mum-of-two said: “I was mind-blown, I still cannot believe it went so far. The world is mainly water so how the hell it landed on a balcony in Germany, I will never know.
“It’s something I’ve done every year. I just write a note to say ‘because you can’t be with me for my birthday, I’ll send a part of my birthday to you. I miss you XOXO.’
“This year, I released it a few days after my birthday, at the canal close to our home. I didn’t think anything else of it.”
Eleanor has released a balloon on her birthday every year after losing her nan Ann Howard in 2012 and her dad Nigel Richardson, who died in a freak accident in 2018.
In her message to them, she signed off as “Eleanor Richardson, Sheerness” which helped Andreas to find her one month later.
On October 22, Eleanor received a message from a woman named Caroline Robinson who asked if she was “Eleanor from Sheerness” who had released the pink star-shaped balloon.
She said: “To my amazement, she told me it was in Germany. She then sent a photo of a newspaper article about the balloon being found by a man and his dog.
“I was covered from head to toe with goosebumps. Of all the years I’ve sent balloons, I’ve never had a response.”
Upon discovering the balloon, Andreas placed an appeal in his local newspaper to trace its sender.
Caroline had seen the article and did some digging on Facebook where she found Eleanor and helped put the pair in touch.
She has since had a video call with Caroline, Andreas and the newspaper reporter in Germany.
Eleanor said: “Everyone was lovely and it’s something I will not forget. I’m now waiting to receive the balloon with a letter from Andreas. I’m going to keep it as a keepsake.”