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Joe Tompkins_Balloon Messenger

In a world in which modern communication technologies grow ever more commonplace, sometimes the older approaches bring much more satisfying results.

In February, 7 year old Joe Tompkins tied a message to a helium-filled balloon and set it free from his back garden in Haddenham. After a minor hiccup, involving an initial conflict with the garden hedge, off sailed the balloon, and as it floated up into the sky Joe hoped that his message might one day be read. Then, with lots of other things to occupy him, he forgot all about it.

Then, this week, a letter arrived in the post from the village of Volkersdorf, near Dresden in Germany. The letter read:

"Dear Joe
I am a farmer and I found your balloon on a field close to our family's home. What a surprise when I saw that it carried a message! I couldn't believe that this little balloon had crossed the channel and made it from Southern England to the Eastern part of Germany.
On Google maps it shows that the balloon travelled 759 miles!
I send my best wishes to you and your family.
Yours sincerely
Thomas Fasold
"

Joe and his mum Paula were absolutely delighted to have received the letter and know how far his message had travelled — and so pleased to think that the farmer had taken the time and trouble to write back.

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