A girl who set off a balloon in memory of her deceased father was amazed to hear that it travelled all the way to a field in France – after the first two got stuck in a tree.
Lilly Rose Hovell lost her father in 2012 and each year on the anniversary of his death she set off a balloon in memory of him.
In the first two years when Lilly, seven, set off a balloon it sadly ended up in a tree at her home in Barnet, Hertfordshire, and so the little girl chose to instead light candles at a church.
This year she decided to give the balloon another go and she was overjoyed when she heard that the balloon travelled approximately 312 miles to the south of France.
Her mother Beverly Hovell, 39, helped set off the balloon from Barnet’s Victoria Park.
She said: “It’s really emotional, I can’t believe how far it went.
“We set it off on November 22 and by the next day it had landed on the farm in a village outside Nantes.
“I do this solely for my daughter. Her father is never forgotten and I want Lilly to always remember him.
“Lilly couldn’t believe it, she is very excited and overwhelmed.”
When the balloon was picked up by an old farmer and his wife, they contacted their neighbours who were able to get in touch with Lilly’s mum thanks to the contact details left on the balloon.
In an email to Beverly, neighbours Madeleine and Giles said: “Our neighbours were very astonished when they received the balloon.
“I feel sorry for Lilly, I understand she misses her father.
“We understand the emotion and meaning of this gesture from you and your daughter.”
Anthoney O’Mahoney passed away at the age of just 35 from a variety of health problems.
Lilly was delighted to hear that her balloon had been picked up.
She said: “I was so amazed that it went so far and I’m so thankful that they were kind people who got in touch.
“I wonder where the balloon will end up next year.”