The story of a missing pet bird that had gone missing had a happy ending five years ago this week.

A little girl is “over the moon” after being reunited with her budgie who was rescued by schoolchildren in a playground after going missing.

Nada Khadidja Tarfa, five, of Brantwood Close in Walthamstow, was heartbroken when her pet Sunny escaped from his cage after being frightened by a neighbour’s cat.

For five days Nada Khadidja cried herself to sleep so her mother Keira Lali decided to buy another bird and pretend it was Sunny.

But just as the replacement budgie was settling into his new home, the family got the exciting news that Sunny has been found by students at Norlington School in Norlington Road, Leyton.

Mrs Tarfa, also mum to Yossra, nine, said: “She was very upset and was crying day and night.

“Her sister had her bird and hers was lost. She was saying mummy I need to get my bird back.

“I bought her a new bird and told her it was Sunny – I had no choice. When I found the real Sunny I said we are going to pick him up and she said no Sunny is at home. I told her the real story and she couldn’t believe it.

“Now she has named Sunny, the one who was missing, Star. He really is a star to make it home after going missing.”

Mr Tayyab Wahid, Head of Science at Norlington School, put the bird in a box and posted photos on social media appealing for its owner to come forward.

Sunny was taken to Leyton Midlands Veterinary in Leyton High Road to be checked over and was found to be withdrawn and refusing food.

A friend of Mrs Tarfa recognised the animal on social media and contacted her. The mother-of-two said Nada Khadidja could hardly sleep with the excitement of being reunited with her best friend.

She said: “She was over the moon. It was such a surprise for her.

“She’s very close to Sunny and usually her bedtime is at 7pm but I let her stay up until 10pm playing with Sunny that night.

“Usually he sleeps in his cage in the corridor but I let him stay in her bedroom.

“He was really upset and wasn’t eating or singing when I found him at the vet’s. Since he got home he hasn’t stopped singing and is in great health.

“I was so happy the teachers and students rescued him. I offered them money but they wouldn’t take it.”

Mr Wahid said: “It's amazing that the bird flew all this way and happened to randomly stay in our school playground.

“This is an example of how powerful social media can be when used correctly and how easy it is to connect.

“We encourage our students to make the right choices and we have to set the examples ourselves to be role models to help create responsible young adults in the 21st century."