The Christmas card delivered across Norfolk - via Japan

Christmas card posted from Downham to St Germans ends up in Japan: Picture submitted

Christmas card posted from Downham to St Germans ends up in Japan: Picture submitted - Credit: Archant

It's only about 10 miles across the Fens from Downham Market to St Germans, but one Christmas card went to Japan and back, before it arrived at the right location.

Marion Martin posted the card, which was marked with the right address and had the correct stamp on it, from Downham Market on December 1. It should have been delivered to Paul Shanks in St Germans, but it only arrived at his home last week, after travelling more than 11,000 miles.

Mr Shanks saw the funny side of it and tweeted Royal Mail to find out what had gone wrong.

They apologised for the mistake and said such cases were extremely rare, but added it was unlikely now to discover why the card was misdirected.

Mr Shanks, who is headteacher at Gaywood Community School in King's Lynn, said: 'It said on the envelope, 'return to sender, missent to Japan'.

'The card just said 'Happy Christmas, lots of love from Marion and the boys'.

'There's a stamp on the envelope saying it had gone to Peterborough, which was probably correct, before being sorted to come to St Germans. But after that, nobody knows why it went to Japan.

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'I found it quite amusing, but it's a good job the cardwas not urgent.'

The 41-year-old, who has been headteacher in Gaywood for four years, is not averse to seeing the funny side of things, as he was pictured in festive gear celebrating Christmas at the school a few years ago. His time at the school in Field Lane has also seen it become an internet sensation.

A few years ago it put a webcam in an incubator where some new chicks were hatching which attracted thousands of hits from countries as far away as America.

Mr Shanks lives with his wife Louise, 49, who is a teacher at Emneth Nursery School, and has an 11-year-old daughter, Mollie.

Have you got a quirky story for the Eastern Daily Press? Email david.bale2@archant.co.uk