Incredible 10,545 mile journey of balloon launched by British schoolboy, 6, is revealed after it lands in AUSTRALIA
- Joshua Blackaby's balloon was found in East Kurrajon New South Wales
- Balloon was discovered in the back garden of a girl called Millie
- Balloon was one of 300 released as part of geography project
- Other balloons made it to Denmark and Holland
By Lucy Crossley
PUBLISHED: 10:55 EST, 2 March 2013 | UPDATED: 12:12 EST, 2 March 2013
When Joshua Blackaby and his school friends released 300 helium balloons as part of a school project he never could have imagined that it would make it all the way to Australia.
The six-year-old was stunned when he received a letter from a girl called Millie, telling him that she had found his balloon in her back garden in New South Wales.
The balloon had made it a staggering 10,545 miles from Derby to Millie's home in East Kurrajon, around 50 miles from Sydney.
Airmail: Joshua Blackaby was amazed when he received a letter telling him that a balloon he released as part of a school project had been found in Australia
Epic adventure: Joshua's balloon travelled 10,545 miles from Alvaston, Derby to East Kurrajon in New South Wales, Australia
Pupils at the Wyndham Primary Academy in Alvaston, Derby, launched the 300 tagged balloons in December last year and although some of his friends' efforts made it to Denmark and The Netherlands - no one could match Joshua's efforts.
'We thought that was amazing,' said home school co-ordinator Suzannah Hemmings.
'However, 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.'
Safe return: Joshua's new penpal Millie wrote to say she had found the balloon and returned it along with his tag
The school had been using the balloon's flight to give pupils a greater understanding of geography and the weather.
Ms Hemmings said that the school was now considering asking a weather expert to work out how the balloon had made it so far.
'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,' she said.
'We are looking at getting an expert in on weather patterns and wind direction to give an indication of how the balloon would have travelled to Sydney.'
Millie's letter, which she signed, was written by an adult and said: 'Hi. My name is Millie and I found your balloon in a tree in my back garden. I am very excited and pleased to send it back.'
Joshua said that he would be writing back to his new Australian friend.
He said: 'I can't believe the balloon went all that way. I am looking forward to writing back to the girl.'
Amazed: Joshua's mum Coleen said she was 'gobsmacked when she found out how far the balloon had travelled
Joshua's mother Coleen Blackaby, 28, said: 'I was very amazed. I was just gobsmacked when I found out it had made it to Australia.
'Joshua was surprised when the letter came to school on Monday. It was just a normal helium balloon.'
There have been cases of balloons from the UK being found in Hong Kong.
Charlie Powell from the Met Office, was amazed that the balloon had travelled so far, but said that such events were not unheard of.
'There is no reason why the balloon shouldn't be swept up into a low part of the jet stream,' he said.
'There are two jet streams in each hemisphere and they wobble their way around the world, travelling at hundreds of miles an hour.
'It is possible that this could happen but the chances are very low.''