Sir David Attenborough was reunited with a girl he met after emergency landing his hot air balloon in Clackmannanshire 35 years ago
January 26th, 2017
A little girl who met Sir David Attenborough when he landed in her family farm 35 years ago was reunited with her hero at People's Postcode Lottery’s Charity Gala on Tuesday 24th January.
Julie Paterson was celebrating her third birthday when a knock at her family door revealed the BBC star asking to use the phone to rescue his team who had just had an emergency landing on her family's farm in a hot air balloon.
Sir David was attending the gala to accept a £250,000 award from players of People's Postcode Lottery for his charity, Fauna & Flora International. During an interview with Dermot Murnaghan on stage at the event, he was asked if he remembered the experience.
Sir David went on to describe the time that he, along with Andrew Buchanan and a BBC film crew, unexpectedly landed on Earnieside Farm, Dunning Glen by Dollar, Clackmannanshire and asked the local family for help. Sir David fondly told the story of meeting Julie's dad, James Paterson (now 64), and being promptly asked to wish his wee girl a happy birthday. Sir David was astonished to discover that the same little girl now works as a Marketing Manager at People's Postcode Lottery and was delighted to be reunited with her on stage.
"The story of Sir David Attenborough and the BBC film crew landing the hot air balloon on our farm on my birthday has been told time and time again in my family," said Julie. "The Life on Earth book and letter he sent my parents after spending the day with us has been treasured. For our paths to cross again 35 years later was so very special. It was an emotional night for us all.
"My sister, Claire, is also an employee of People’s Postcode Lottery, and she was able to finally meet this wonderful man for the first time, as her and my other sister Kirsten missed him the first time round, being born a month afterwards! I've worked at the lottery for seven years, and I really love that something so special was shared with my friends there too."
Sir David Attenborough was joined by HRH Prince Charles, the Duke of Rothesay in Edinburgh, showing their support for the charities they represent at the People's Postcode Lottery Charity Gala, held at Prestonfield House.