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Weekly’s story sparks hunt for child who wrote Christmas letter to dead dad

A weekly newspaper’s heartrending story of a child who sent a Christmas letter to his dead father in a balloon has sparked a nationwide search for the youngster.

The Dunfermline Press broke the story on its website on Tuesday after reader Stuart McColl found the letter in a field in the Scottish town.

In it, the unnamed writer told their late dad he was going into foster care because his mum was unwell, and that his dream was for his dad to leave a note under his pillow.

The letter has provided a viral hit for the Newsquest-owned title, with the story being viewed more than 200,000 times and picked up by other media outlets.

A Christmas list asking for a new football, football boots and a Rubik’s Cube also features in the letter.

Since the Press broke the story online on Tuesday afternoon, the story has been picked up and shared by its Newsquest sister titles across the country as well as organisations including ITN and BBC Scotland.


The article has also been widely shared on social media, including by former footballers Stan Collymore and Gary Lineker – who admitted the letter had made him cry.

Simon Harris, Newsquest Fife regional editor, told HTFP: “We knew as we uploaded the story just before 3pm on Tuesday afternoon that this was a story that had the potential to go viral but the reaction has been incredible.”

“We shouldn’t be surprised, the letter is incredibly moving and difficult to read – we’ve lost count of the number of folk who’ve told us they have been moved to tears by it, including Gary Lineker, who retweeted it recently.

“At the same time, it has proved to be incredibly uplifting – the spontaneous generosity of people wanting to help having been touched by the story is the best of human nature and we’ve been inundated with offers of help.

“Actually finding the child is proving a challenge – the reference to being in foster care clearly presents issues around the child’s identification and because the letter was tied to a balloon, we’re not even sure the child is from our patch.

“But we will continue to try and it could well be that foster children throughout Fife can in some way benefit from the welter of public pledges of generosity our story inspired.”

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  • December 16, 2016 at 10:10 am

    What a wonderful, moving story. I really hope this lad gets all the love and luck in the world because he really deserves it.

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