Special birthday celebrated with balloon flight

A woman has celebrated her 106th birthday by embarking on a hot air balloon ride with her family. Ella Passmore, from Claxton, took to the skies in the early hours of last Tuesday morning.

Ella was given the chance to fulfil a lifelong dream after the trip was arranged by Touchstone Energy and Coastal Electric. She said:

“It was just something I had never done before and I wanted to try it.”

The balloon was tethered so she was able to ascend and descend several times with different family members, including granddaughter Jami, who said:

“It’s something that we will share and have and not many people can say that.”

The balloon pilot, Cheri White, reported that in all her years of flying, Ella is easily the oldest person to accompany her on a ride.

“She was so peaceful, but she had tears in her eyes and then that made my eyes tear up. It was just so exciting to see someone so happy about the experience.”

After the balloon flight, Ella also got to ride in a preserved war helicopter, which she thoroughly enjoyed, marvelling on the sheer variability of the view. Finally, the entire family celebrated with a generous breakfast and cake.

Ella, however, remains undeterred by her age, maintaining that everybody else except her is old. Trey Bragg, her great grandson, said that when she receives visitors at her nursing home, she will frequently complain about being surrounded by ‘old people’, and has to be reminded that, actually, she is the oldest person present.

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