Churchill Wishes The Queen A Very Happy Diamond Jubilee – Oh Yesss

With celebrations for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee taking place across the UK: towns, cities, and villages came over all red, white and blue with street parties (my village held the longest street party in the UK crossing a bridge over the River Thames!), music concerts and the spectacular lighting of over 4000 beacons across the UK.

One of these beacons was placed on Durdham Downs in Bristol and, a day’s activities had been planned to entertain the crowds before the beacon was lit at 10pm. Bristol is known as the home of UK ballooning due to both the largest hot air balloon meet – the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta – and the largest producer of hot air balloons in the world – Cameron Balloons – residing in the city.

As a result, a display of hot air balloons was included as part of the Down’s Jubilee Celebrations. The star of the show being Airship & Balloon Company operated Churchill Dog special shape. Once again, I was very lucky to be asked to pilot Churchill – or should that be, take him for a walk!? The plan was to tether Churchill for the crowds and TV camera’s during the afternoon and into the evening with a mass launch of hot air balloons planned for 7pm.

The day before, with high winds and torrential rain (I heard someone joke that God must be a Republican!) the chance of doing any ballooning the following day look slim. However, as with the British weather, it couldn’t have been more of a polar opposite, the sun shone, the winds dropped and Churchill sat splendidly, basking in front of a crowd of thousands, waiting patiently for the beacon to be lit.

In the end, I did 2 ½ hours of tethering, gaining large amount of TV coverage during BBC Points West news coverage and even paid my own special tribute to Her Majesty, The Queen, with some carefully placed bunting around the basket!

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Photographs © Chris Dobson, Mark Neal and Dan Whitelock

Posted on by 5WC in Hot Air Ballooning First Edition

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