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Balloon released in Birmingham father’s memory picked up by farmer in Poland

Nicola Bowler wanted to send a message to her father, who died on September 2 last year.

Nicola Bowler wanted to commemorate the first anniversary of her father’s death (Nicola Bowler)
Nicola Bowler wanted to commemorate the first anniversary of her father’s death (Nicola Bowler)

By Megan Baynes, PA

A balloon released in memory of a Birmingham father ended up crossing Europe before landing in a Polish field.

Nicola Bowler wanted to commemorate the first anniversary of her father’s death at the beginning of September — but had no idea her message would end up travelling more than 1,500km (950 miles) and across several countries.

Nicola, 42, and her husband released the special star-shaped helium balloon that said: “Always missed, but never forgotten Dad, Derek.”

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Nicola Bowler with her father, Derek Wood, on her wedding day in 2006.

At the last minute, she decided to put her phone number on both sides, with a plea to text her so she could see how far the balloon had travelled.

At first the balloon got caught in the trees surrounding the cemetery where Derek Wood now rests, and had to be prodded out by Mrs Bowler’s husband.

She told the PA news agency: “I didn’t expect it to get very far, maybe another town in Birmingham.

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A man holds a balloon he found in Poland (Polsat TV via AP)

“Four days later I got a text message saying ‘your dad has travelled to Poland’. I had no idea what it meant until my husband reminded me of the balloon.”

The balloon travelled to Troszkowo, a village located in an area of north-eastern Poland where a farmer had found it in his field.

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Derek Wood with two of his grandchildren. (Nicola Bowler)

Mrs Bowler said: “I felt like I wanted to send a message to my dad, and I did that.

“He wasn’t very well travelled — he had maybe three or four abroad holidays in his life — and he would have found this so funny. He had such a good sense of humour and was always making us laugh.”

Her father died unexpectedly last September due to undiagnosed asbestos-related cancer, from when he had worked as a roofer when he was younger.

Mrs Bowler said: “Originally I thought it couldn’t have possibly have got that far, but I googled the number – it was a Polish number.

“It was such a shock that a balloon could have travelled that far.”

PA

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