A gamekeeper who found a 4-year-old girl's birthday balloon more than 160km from where she let it go has accused her of choking a deer he called Bambi.

The helium balloon had been released by Ava and her mother Lucy from Greater Manchester.

She wrote a message on the front asking whoever found the balloon to post on Facebook so that her parents could see how far it got.

But when Russ Edwards found it in Much Wenlock in Shropshire, he decided to tell the child off for risking the deer's life.

Advertisement

The hand-written message on the front said: "Hello my name is Ava. I have just turned 4.

"If you find this please post on Facebook to see if it gets back to my mummy and daddy.

"Love from Ava and Dave and Lucy (My mummy and daddy). xxxx."

Off-road driving enthusiast Edwards replied on Facebook wishing her a happy birthday before going on to chastise her for putting a wild fallow deer's life at risk.

He said: "Good morning Ava from Bolton.

"You are a lucky girl as I have found your message this morning.

"I would like to wish you a happy 4th birthday.

"I hope this message reaches you and other little boys and girls because at 6.30 this morning while you were tucked up in bed I was saving Bambi's life.

Advertisement

"She was choking on your birthday balloon.

"Your balloon was found near Much Wenlock, Shropshire.

"So please next time you test the power of social media please spare a thought for wildlife and livestock. Please share."

Ava's mum Lucy replied: "Well this is just my luck. I am so, so, so, so sorry.

"This was my balloon that me and Ava let go to see how far it would go and we did not have any intention of harming an poor animal. I hope she is ok.

"Once again I'm so sorry I won't be doing it again."

The post has since been taken down from a community page on Facebook, but some commentators slammed Edwards for trying to guilt-trip a 4-year-old.

Dean Pownall fumed: "Have a minute Russ, the girl's 4 for f*** sake. She didn't meant to cause any harm did she."

Others praised him for raising awareness and Debbie Newman said: "Good idea but no so keen on the onus being placed on a 4-year-old killing Bambi. Aim comments at the parents."

In response, Edwards said: "The harsh reality is litter does kill animals.

'You will have to excuse my 80s movie reference but at least I have touched a few kind hearted people that don't realise the implications of their actions.

"I wonder if your views would change if like me you have had a pheasant die in your hands while trying to remove a balloon ribbon from down it's throat."

Gill Mcgarrell also defended Edwards. She posted: "I had to retrieve one from one of my lambs that had half swallowed.

"Wish people would realise that it is sky littering along with sky lanterns and it will never reach their loved ones in heaven, chances are it will send another animal to heaven instead."