Lantern links friends across the sky

Christmas is a time when friends surprise each other with presents.But for a pair of close colleagues in Norfolk, a seasonal gift came out of the blue after it soared more than a dozen miles through the air from one to another.

Christmas is a time when friends surprise each other with presents.

But for a pair of close colleagues in Norfolk, a seasonal gift came out of the blue after it soared more than a dozen miles through the air from one to another.

When David Adams released a Chinese lantern-style balloon on the evening of December 25 in Strumpshaw, near Norwich, to mark Christmas he thought it would float aimlessly before settling back down to earth.

But in a strange quirk of fate the 3ft tall balloon landed yards from the home of his good friend of 25 years Ray Bennett in Hackford.


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The distance between Hackford and Strumpshaw is about 15 miles as the crow flies and 23 miles by car.

Both friends were amazed that fate had led to the balloon staying airborne until it drifted down by Mr Bennett's home.

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Mr Adams, a 59-year-old property manager, said: 'I had the lantern for a while and just thought why not let it go on Christmas Day for a laugh.

'After releasing I thought nothing more of it. It is just unbelievable that it ended up by Ray's house. One slight puff of wind could have caused it to go anywhere and Ray would never have found it.

'The only time something like this has ever happened before to me was about 30 years when I was on holiday in Greece and bumped into my brother.'

When Mr Bennett found the balloon he threw it in his wheelie bin - but hastily retrieved it when Mr Adams told him he had released a lantern the day before.

Mr Bennett, 55 and a fire alarm specialist, said: 'I think it is totally uncanny that David's balloon ended up by my house.'

A spokeswoman for forecasters Weatherquest, based at the University of East Anglia, said that on the night of Christmas Day the easterly wind speed was low - 10mph - and that it was a bit surprising the balloon had not landed earlier.

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