Openshaw girls send a balloon for Grandma… and it ends up in Belgium!
Tuesday 28th November 2017 16:57 Gorton & Openshaw News Posted by Tom Greggan

When nine-year-old Olivia Barclay and her three-year-old sister Sophia let off a balloon in memory of their grandma in September, they were hoping it would travel further than Stoke-on-Trent, their previous record.

Little did they expect it would end up all the way in Verrebroek, a small town in Belgium, some 309 miles from their home in Openshaw!

It was found by Kris Pieters on his back doorstep. His Facebook post attempting to track down the sisters quickly went viral and mum Kelly Barclay could scarcely believe her eyes when she saw it!

The balloon travelled an incredible 309 miles before landing in Verrebroek, Belgium.

She said: “We couldn’t believe it. We showed Olivia on the map just how far it had gone! We couldn’t believe that a half-deflated balloon could get all that way!”

Explaining where the idea came from to set off a balloon, Kelly explained: “My grandma- the girl’s great-grandma- passed away in September last year. Olivia came up with the idea to send some balloons up to her. Her favourite colour was green so on her birthday, we send some green balloons up in the sky. That’s where the idea came from and we just carried on doing it.

“Every birthday we get balloons and when they’re going down a bit we set them off. We write a little note on with our names, our age and where we’re from and we set it off in the sky.”

Olivia and Sophia were excited to see their balloon travel so far, with a little help from their beloved great-grandma! Olivia wowed her Year 4 classmates at Fairfield Road Primary School and says they’re going to see how far they can send a balloon as well

A few people we know have started doing it as well to see how far they can get it,” Kelly said. “It’s competition time now, to see if anyone can get further than us!”

Olivia celebrated her ninth birthday on Monday and let off another balloon to celebrate. Who knows where that might end up?