AN 11-year-old from Nether Stowey who released a balloon at Taunton Flower Show got a shock when he discovered how far it had travelled.

Ross Scott released his 50p balloon at the festival in 1988 and thought nothing more of it after it disappeared over the trees.

So he was shocked when he received a letter from the person who had found his balloon - in the mountains of northern Czechoslovakia.

It was found by seven-year-old Jakub Matousek, who was holidaying in the mountains with his family when he found the balloon, complete with name and address.

The pair started a pen-pal friendship thereafter.

And Ross was also delighted to hear that, as his balloon had travelled the furthest, he had also won a ride in a real-life air balloon.

"I am very excited and can't wait to go up in a real balloon," said Ross.