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Strangers’ kindness and three other good news articles from France

We also look at how Japanese rugby fans cleaned up a stadium after a match and a group of fishermen’s determination to save a blue lobster from the plate

Our weekly good news round-up to bring a smile to your face Pic: Sam and Brian / sirtravelalot / Marco Rubino / monticello / Shutterstock

1: One-in-a-million blue lobster to be released back into Atlantic

A rare blue lobster caught by chance by a fisherman in west France is to be returned to the ocean instead of being served up to eat.

The lobster was caught during a normal fishing operation in early September but members of the Les Viviers de Noirmoutier seafood company campaigned against the crustacean being used for culinary purposes. 

They offered it to the La Rochelle aquarium but it rejected it - so they found a ‘no fishing zone’ on the nearby Île d’Yeu, off the coast of the Vendée department, where the lobster could safely be returned to the wild. 

“With the help of the tourist office, we have found a no-fishing zone in which to release the lobster so that it can live a long, happy and peaceful life,” said the company.

You can see photos of the lobster on the group’s Facebook page below: 

The company is now running a competition to name the lobster – a young female – before it is released. You can give your suggestions through their Facebook page.

“Scientists estimate that one lobster in one to two million is blue in colour,” said a spokesperson from the Escale pêche, an interaction fishing expedition in the nearby town of Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie. 

2: Thousands send birthday letters to boy with rare disease 

After a social media post from a boy asking for birthday wishes went viral, thousands of strangers sent him letters. 

Mathéo, celebrating his 14th birthday, has an extremely rare condition called genu recurvatum et valgum, a genetic disability that makes it difficult for him to walk or express himself. 

For his eighth birthday back in 2017, his mum came up with the idea of asking people to send postcards from around the world, as he loved to read them and open mail. 

Almost 800 letters were sent to Mathéo from as far as the US and Martinique. 

For his 14th birthday – which Mathéo celebrated on September 19 – his mum again asked people to send cards, with the newspaper Sud Ouest joining the appeal. 

This time, over 1,000 cards were sent to Mathéo’s address in Vergt, Dordogne – with some still arriving from abroad – including birthday wishes and letters of encouragement, and many colourful postcards.

If you want to send a belated birthday card to him, the address to do so is: 

Mathéo Descarnongle, 1, rue du Château-Vieux, 24380 Vergt.

Read more: Artificial Intelligence can write your letters in French

3: Charity gifts 300 stuffed toys to firefighters to help calm children during accidents

The Rêves de clown à l’hôpital organisation has donated 300 stuffed toys to fire stations in Brittany, as part of celebrations to commemorate 25 years of the initiative.

The toys will be used by firefighters to help calm children during callouts and for children who are unwell (firefighters often act as first responders in medical emergencies in France). 

“We already use cuddly toys when we take care of children: it helps to break the ice, to understand where it hurts, and to explain to them what we're going to do,” said the heads of the Vannes and Lorient fire departments to Ouest France. 

There are no precise figures but out of the 11,000 callouts for firefighters in Vannes and Lorient each year “around three to four per week involve children,” said Damien Thebault, head of the Lorient centre. 

The Rêves de clown organisation – which consists of 26 professional clowns and over 100 volunteers – works all across Brittany in 18 different locations, and works with up to 4,000 children per year. 

4: Japanese fans clean Nice stadium after rugby match 

Japanese fans stayed behind long after their team’s match with England had finished last Sunday to clean up the stadium. 

After watching their team lose against England 34-12 at Nice’s Allianz Riviera stadium, hundreds of fans stayed on to pick up rubbish from the stands. 

The fans donned gloves and carried large plastic bags, picking up cans, bottles, and food wrappers from all over the stadium. 

It is not the first time Japanese fans abroad have been known to clean a stadium after a game involving one of their national teams, and they often make headlines for doing so during international tournaments. 

They also did the same during Japan’s opening match of the tournament against Chile. 

Japanese children are taught to clean up after themselves from a young age, and often clean their classrooms after finishing the day. Some schools have no full time cleaners as pupils are tasked with keeping classrooms clean. 

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