Boy sends late grandad a balloon message in real-life version of John Lewis ad

Alfie with the balloon. Ross Parry
Alfie with the balloon. Ross Parry
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A four-year-old Barnsley boy who believes his late grandfather lives on the moon has lived out a real-life version of John Lewis’ Christmas advert.

Alfie Mills and his younger sister Gracie-May released a heart-shaped balloon, hoping it would reach their beloved relative who passed away earlier this year.

The note from Alfie's mum on the back of the card. See Ross Parry copy RPYBALLOON: A four-year-old has become a real life-star of the John Lewis Christmas ad after releasing a balloon to the moon - to try and contact his late granddad. Little Alfie Mills released the balloon in memory of his gramps Stephen Mills, with a note telling him how much he and younger sister Gracie-May missed him. The note read: "Grandad, miss you and love you. Love Alfie and Gracie-May xxxxx" But just 20 days after releasing the balloon, Alfie's parents, David, 33, and Katie, 25, were told on Facebook that the balloon had been found 650 miles away in Germany.

The note from Alfie's mum on the back of the card. See Ross Parry copy RPYBALLOON: A four-year-old has become a real life-star of the John Lewis Christmas ad after releasing a balloon to the moon - to try and contact his late granddad. Little Alfie Mills released the balloon in memory of his gramps Stephen Mills, with a note telling him how much he and younger sister Gracie-May missed him. The note read: "Grandad, miss you and love you. Love Alfie and Gracie-May xxxxx" But just 20 days after releasing the balloon, Alfie's parents, David, 33, and Katie, 25, were told on Facebook that the balloon had been found 650 miles away in Germany.

They attached a note, which read: “Grandad, miss you and love you. Love Alfie and Gracie-May xxxxx”

Twenty-five-year-old mum Kate left her name and postcode on the back of the note, and was shocked to receive a Facebook message 20 days later.

The balloon was found 650 miles away in Dinklage, Germany, but parents David and Kate told little Alfie the balloon had been kissed by his grandad and set back down to Earth.

David, aged 33, said: “Alfie was so excited when we told him that his granddad had sent the balloon back to Earth. He had a little smile on his face and we were able to show him pictures of the note in Dinklage, Germany.
“It was nice of the person to post a message on Facebook. We are really happy that it was so special for Alfie.”

Grandad Stephen Mills, who ran the family coach business Yorkshire Rose Holidays, passed away from heart problems in January this year at the age of 57.

Now when the moon is visible in the night sky, Alfie believes he and his grandfather can see each other.

David said: “It was Alfie’s idea to send the balloon because he wanted to get it to the moon. We told him that his grandad went to heaven in January but he has always said that he’s on the moon.”

The heart-warming story resembles this year’s Christmas advert from John Lewis, which has already been viewed more than 20 million times on Youtube.

The two-minute advertisement shows a young girl finding an elderly man on the moon when she peers out of a telescope.

She tries to catch his attention, but isn’t successful until she sends him a package with the help of several balloons.

The man opens the box to reveal a telescope, which he uses to see the young girl back on Earth.

Ending with the strapline, “Show someone they’re loved this Christmas”, the ad brought many viewers to tears when it debuted last month.