Balloon glow held at Thornbury

A golf centre in South Gloucestershire has held a night-time hot air balloon glow and fireworks display to mark the beginning of the season for balloon pilots.

Fire-breathing was also performed by David Reynolds of Dangerzone Firebreathing.

While the 4th April event was primarily held for balloonists as a communal gathering, it was also designed to thank the many sponsors and supporters of enthusiasts. Several families from the Thornbury area additionally attended, which helped to boost numbers further.

Tom Gouder, a former pupil of the nearby Castle School, organised the Thornbury Balloon Meet. He managed to gain his balloon pilot’s licence at only 17 years old, and now, at the age of 22, has ballooned in various countries around the world.

Gouder also frequently attends the Bristol Balloon Fiesta, and has taught his own mother, Julie Searle, how to fly a balloon after she expressed a deep interest in the sport.

Three days were planned for the event, which took place this month following a small practice run last year.

Two balloons were able to fly during the first day, but unfavourable weather stopped them from going up on the following days.

Gouder said:

“I’m trying to promote the sport, especially among young people and women, and the golf centre is keen to have another event. Although there wasn’t much flying, we had organised some fun golf matches and other activities, including a talk by balloonist Ian Martin about flying in Burma.”

He and Sam Baker, his event manager, hope to return next year.

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