UFO mystery solved

A UFO mystery which became the talk of a town and saw military bases contacted across the region has been solved.

A UFO mystery which became the talk of a town and saw military bases contacted across the region has been solved.

Theories of all sorts surfaced after strange sightings in the night sky over Dereham on Sunday night, sparking much debate - but it all came from a party to celebrate grandmother Anthea Brown's 80th birthday.

Special lanterns were sent in to the sky during the celebrations in Toftwood for Mrs Brown, who lives in Carleton Rode, near Attleborough.

She said: “The lanterns were marvellous. We had never seen anything like it before.

“We let them off one at a time and watched them fly away. It was a lovely picture and the highlight of the day.

“I did wonder at the time what other people would think. It was quite funny when I saw it in the paper.”

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The party was held at the Toftwood home of Kathy Rose, one of Mrs Brown's five children, in Mill Court.

Mrs Brown is not actually 80 until next March, but the family decided to have an early party because Mrs Brown's son Rob was visiting from Malawi.

Mrs Rose said: “We let off 16 lanterns, one for mum and one for each of her grandchildren and step-grandchildren. We did joke that people might think they were UFOs. I hope we did not worry anyone.”

Aerial photographer Derek Edwards and two of his neighbours, Fred Mason and Rodney Groom, from Breton Close, Toftwood, were baffled when they saw the strange orange lights at about 7.30pm on Sunday.

And when Norwich International Airport, UEA-based forecasters WeatherQuest, and RAF Marham, RAF Lakenheath and RAF Mildenhall could not offer any explanation about the lights, the mystery deepened.

But it has now emerged that sky lanterns - which have gone to become a common feature of festivals and celebrations in Asia - lay behind the mystery.

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