Based on her mother’s true story, Kay Mellor’s heartfelt play will be on stage at the Hull Truck Theatre from 10th September to the 2nd October 2010 and Virgin Balloon Flights are one of its proud supporters.
The play which was recently aired by the BBC and starred Sue Johnstone and Billie Piper ends with the lead character Betty riding off into the sunset in a hot air balloon.
A Passionate Woman tells the story of Betty, a middle aged mother and wife. Set on the day of her son’s wedding; she climbs into the loft to escape from all the arrangements and drops the flap shut! Betty has a secret that she has kept hidden for years; when she was younger she had a passionate love affair with a polish fairground worker. Now the spirit of her dead lover, Craze, comes to her on the roof and Betty relives her time all over again with him. Her son and husband meanwhile realise Betty’s whereabouts and try to woo her down to the all important wedding, but she’s not going anywhere except up!
Writer Kay Mellor entitled the play A Passionate Woman because she realised that’s exactly what her mother was. Kay has re-worked the play especially for Hull Truck and is delighted to be finally playing her mum (Betty) for the first time. The star studded cast for the performance also includes ‘Emmerdale’s’ Anthony Lewis, ‘Hollyoaks’’ Stuart Manning and Andrew Dunn from ‘Dinnerladies’.
Here at Virgin Balloon Flights we are giving all ‘A Passionate Woman’ spectators the chance to fly off into the sunset just like Betty. Simply take a flyer from the theatre after the performance which instructs you how to claim the flight voucher discount.
A Passionate Woman – Hull Truck Theatre, 10 September – 2 October 2010 Box Office 01482 323638
Up, up and away!
This August bank holiday more than 20,000 people are expected to flock to the ‘Wings & Wheels’ festival at Dunsfold Park in Surrey. The two day event will showcase some of the finest civil and military aircraft displays in the UK, as well as motoring displays and some pretty speedy race cars. Virgin Balloon Flights will be there getting in on the action too!
Pilot Spencer Craze who flies for Virgin Balloon Flights in the south east said “Balloon rides in Surrey are fantastic as it has a tremendous amount of beautiful woodland to fly over, yet it’s really close to London, so you can sometimes have great views of the city. Being involved in Wings & Wheels will be great, I imagine the balloon will get a lot of attention.”
The father-of-two will be at the Surrey attraction offering discounted flights to festival goers and launching his big red Virgin balloon from the showground early morning and early evening on both Sunday 29th and Monday 30th.
As well as taking to the skies with Virgin, the exciting aviation and motoring show are proud to announce that the famous Red Arrows will be joining the ‘air teams’ in the four hour display on both days too. As if that wasn’t enough there will be family activities including a fairground, over 50 stalls, arts and crafts, food and drink and many demonstrations and trials.
What’s more, all proceeds from Wings & Wheels will go to Dunsfold Park’s nominated charities which include; Brooklands Museum Trust, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance, Cranleigh Village Hospital Trust and Help for Heroes.
Tickets are still available and cost £16 for adults, £5 for under 15s and £36 for a family. Hospitality packages start at £120 per person. For more information or to book a ticket visit www.wingsandwheels.net or call 01483 542226.
Wednesday morning saw another birthday celebration at 3,000 feet with both a passenger and crew member celebrating their birthdays with Virgin Balloon Flights.
Kyle Cheney, from Broughton Lincolnshire celebrated his 24th birthday in style with an early morning balloon flight with his partner Zoe. The lucky couple booked the flight specifically for Kyle’s birthday date and got to fly first time with great weather and of course amazing views.
“The balloon ride was actually a gift I bought for my partner’s birthday back in April this year, and we decided it would be a great idea to book it for my birthday so we could celebrate together – best of both,” said Kyle.
It’s hard to choose one favourite part of the flight. It was all great, I did like seeing the balloons reflection when flying over rivers, and the initial awe of taking off and first looking out was pretty breath-taking. I’m glad the weather was as good as it was.”
“Because I really enjoyed it, I would definitely like to do it again. It was very peaceful and tranquil. The pilot and crew were all very helpful and fun; it made the experience even better being able to have a laugh with them.”
On the very same morning crew member Neil was also celebrating his own birthday – a double celebration for that basket! After they had landed and enjoyed their Champagne toast the two birthday boys posed for a photograph.
Flying with Virgin Balloon Flights is the perfect birthday gift, click here for more information.
One of our wonderful pilots Mark Shemilt , 46, wowed the listeners of BBC Radio Berkshire yesterday afternoon with tales of world records, big red balloons and cloud hopping above Berkshire and the surrounding counties.
Susanne Courtney known on the show as ‘Suze’, interviewed Virgin Balloon Flights pilot Mark for around 40 minutes allowing him to choose the records they played between talk time. True to the nickname Suze gave Mark as ‘Balloon Obsessive’, his choices of songs were of course ballooning related.
The first of Mark’s picks was non-other than ‘Jumping Jack Flash’ by The Rolling Stones blaring out it’s ‘Gas, Gas, Gas’ reference mid chorus, next on his playlist was Crowded House track ‘Weather With You’ signifying the plea pilots have for good ballooning weather each day.
Recognised by listeners in the Berkshire area, father-of-three Mark was pleased to hear a lady called Sylvia had phoned in mid interview to say she had had an amazing flight with Mark in her home county.
To listen to Mark’s interview simply follow link to BBC iPlayer or visit www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer and select Phil Gayle’s show on Thursday 19th August .
Although he was nervous before his interview, we’re pleased Mark did a great job educating listeners about ballooning and hot air balloon rides with Virgin in the area.
Impressing the show host too, Mark has been invited to go back to BBC Radio Berkshire and share his experiences of his up and coming world record break set to happen in February 2011 with fellow Virgin Balloon Flights pilot Kenneth Karlstrom.
You too can fly with Mark in Berkshire , Hampshire , Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire , more information is available here.
A pilot from Yorkshire has managed to get up close and personal
with a Virgin hot air balloon whilst up in the sky with his paramotor. His photographs show how these two wonderful forms of aviation can seamlessly cross each other’s paths whilst riding on the wind.
Norman McNeil, 56, has been flying for 17 years after gaining his CAA pilots license and training through the BHPA (British Hangliding & Paragliding Association). His initial interest in flying this way came about because the father-of-two needed a hobby.
“I took up gliding, then flying motor gliders, I gained my CAA
Private Pilot’s License, then tried paragliding and have now
been paramotoring for the last six years. The paramotor simply pushes you along and the wind lifts you up.”
“I fly a Bailey (UK manufactured) Paramotor and a Paramania Revolution Wing as well as flying Motor Gliders from Rufforth in York.”
Norman has a great interest in flying and a love for photography, especially aerial photography, so it’s not surprising
our iconic red hot air balloons catch his attention. “I like aerial photography because it gives me a different view point on things. Balloons are great to fly with and photograph, but as we are relatively noisy we don’t hang around them for very long.”
After flying in a Virgin hot air balloon with pilot Martin Collinson at one of our York launch sites, Norman said “once again a different perspective from the sky … I saw a deer bouncing through high crops and a foraging barn owl meandering along the banks of a stream looking for his family’s next meal. Not something you see every day! ”
Thank you to Norman for taking such fantastic photographs of us in flight, see you in the sky!
A newlywed couple whose love is certainly sky-high celebrated
the first few days of wedded bliss with a Virgin Balloon Flights hot air balloon ride. Lianne and Chris from Shaw, Lancashire tied the knot on Saturday the 7th of August at ‘The Riverside’ in Rochdale where they received their ‘Celebration Package’ balloon ride vouchers as a wedding gift.
“The balloon flight was a wedding present from my Uncle John … we were overwhelmed at such a generous gift and we were so excited that we would be going in a hot air balloon!” said Lianne.
The couple who will jet off on Friday to Kuredu Island in the Maldives and then on to Dubai for their honeymoon, had both never flown in a
hot air balloon before and were extremely eager to start their airborne adventure as husband and wife.
“Chris’ favourite part was helping the pilot and crew inflate and deflate the balloon, he helped with the crown line and ropes and the cold air inflation. My favourite was the lifting off from the ground!” she added.
Their ballooning experience was an early morning flight from York Racecourse with pilot Martin Collinson and they enjoyed around an hour in the air and a Champagne toast after landing. “We saw lots of great views; we particularly liked seeing York Minster and some beautiful houses… but also thought it was great to see the horses and other animals on the ground.”
Aboard the same flight as the happy couple was Rachel Foster from Holgate York, who celebrated her 18th Birthday at 3000 feet in the air, seen here with her certificate signed by pilot Martin & endorsed by Sir Richard Branson! Happy birthday to Rachel from all of us here at Virgin Balloon Flights.
For your chance to celebrate in the sky aboard an iconic red Virgin balloon visit virginballoonflights.co.uk or call 01952 212750
More information about flying in Yorkshire is available here!
With their direction and speed determined by the wind, hot air balloons require highly skilled pilots to select a suitable landing spot after a sky-high trip. Skills like those of Virgin Balloon Flights’ pilot Martin Collinson, who couldn’t have landed his balloon in a more appropriate place on Sunday morning…
His AM flight from York Racecourse drifted on a northerly wind showcasing spectacular views of the county. Passengers enjoyed a bird’s eye view of Bishopthorpe Palace which sits beside the River Ouse and is the official residence of the Archbishop of York.
After an hour-long airborne adventure pilot Martin was on the lookout for a large flat area to land which had easy access for the ground crew and a road close by to transport the passengers. As always, he was careful to avoid fields with livestock, crop and any other obstacles, allowing for a safe and straightforward landing.
Martin spotted a long strip of flat grass with a lane for access and a road just a stone’s throw away for the passengers. So, without further ado, he brought the balloon down on the mentioned spot in the town of Riccall.
Much to Martin’s surprise, when the crew pulled in to retrieve the balloon and passengers they informed him that the nearby lane was actually called ‘Landing Lane’! Talk about the perfect spot.
More information about flying with Martin and hot air balloon flights over Yorkshire is available here.
Here at Virgin Balloon Flights we have a brand new pilot who has
seen some amazing sights and flown in some spectacular venues, there is one thing for sure… you won’t have to worry about lions after landing here, we just serve up Champagne!
Born in Australia in 1965, Brad grew up in Melbourne where he became a tour guide in the travel and tourism industry. He soon became hungry to travel himself and embarked on a two year backpacking trip where he ended up in the UK looking for part-time work. This was his first encounter with hot air ballooning when he became a part-time crew member working his way up to chief crew and eventually taking his commercial pilot’s licence.
Ten years on and Brad has piloted balloons in France, Italy, Austria, Turkey, Egypt, Kenya, Portugal, New Zealand, UK and of course in his homeland Australia! He has knotched up around 850 flying hours and is as passionate about ballooning now as he was on his very first flight.
His most memorable flight to date was in Kenya, flying over the Masai Mara. “We had a fantastic flight and the passengers were excited to have seen the animals below the basket. When I landed the balloon, the passengers climbed aboard the 4×4 and Lions started to circle the empty balloon,” said Brad.
“It’s common for the animals to be close, but it was an exciting experience to really have them that close pawing the deflated balloon envelope!
“I just love ballooning. There is nothing else like it and my office window is now the fantastic British countryside from around 3000 feet in the air. What could be better?”.
Out of Africa to England, Brad’s home is now Shropshire and his career with Virgin balloon Flights started in April 2010. He will be flying passengers from launch sites in Telford, Shrewsbury, Nantwich, Whitchurch and Stafford’s Amerton Farm.
W E Johns’ adventure book series truly came to life
yesterday morning as a James ‘Biggles’ Bigglesworth tribute jumped on board one of our balloons with pilot Martin Collinson in Yorkshire.
The hero character, a pilot and adventurer, had a lengthy fictional career spanning nearly 100 volumes from his debut ‘The Camels are Coming’ (1932) to his final adventure in ‘Biggles Air Ace: The Uncollected Stories’ (1999).
The Biggles fan who enjoyed a hot air balloon ride with Virgin Balloon Flights was Mr Andrew Hayden of Redcar north Yorkshire who is originally from Cleveland, and an obvious adventurer himself. Pilot Martin said:
“He carried off the part with great humour…”
On the same flight yesterday morning which launched from
York Racecourse, the 15 lucky passengers got a splendid bird’s eye view of Elvington Air Museum which is the largest independent air museum in Britain and is also the location of The Allied Air Forces Memorial.
A truly educational hot air balloon ride in real aviation spirit! The passengers enjoyed a Champagne toast after landing, sipping to the history of flight before packing away the balloon and being taken back to their original launch site.
You too can take to the skies in an iconic red balloon in Yorkshire or from one of 100+ launch sites in England, Scotland and Wales. Start your airborne adventure with Virgin Balloon Flights!