If you’re a regular reader of the Virgin Balloon Flights Mile High blog, you’ll know all about the exciting weekend that Virgin Balloon Flights had at the 36th Annual Bristol International Balloon Fiesta recently. Part of our weekend involved taking a trip to the Cameron Balloons stand, who kindly manufacture all of our Virgin Balloons!
It was really interesting to walk around the stand, which had a perfect view of the balloons as they prepared to take off as part of the mass ascents! There was plenty to look at, such as ballooning equipment, mini balloons and examples of Cameron Balloons’ past work which is incredibly varied!
We were lucky enough to have a quick catch up with Hannah Cameron who works for Cameron Balloons and she gave us a bit of an insight into what happens on a daily basis at the factory of the world’s largest hot-air balloon manufacturer!
Hannah started off by telling us how important the Bristol Balloon Fiesta is for the company, and that they start work on the event just after Christmas! This is so that full preparations are completed by the end of April and that the team are all set and ready to go when the Fiesta comes around in August.
We then started to learn about Hannah’s role in Cameron Balloon’s, which is very diverse, which she explained by saying, “There really is no standard day in the office for me!” As well as being one of the company’s Directors, Hannah is also responsible for all of the company’s HR, dealing with press and media enquiries, working on any new accounts, managing the company’s website and Social Media pages and of course, attending big events such as the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta!
It’s apparent that the work of Cameron Balloons is just as varied as Hannah’s role too, after she explained some of the things which the company has been getting up to in the last few months. One of their most recent projects was the ‘Park and Slide’ in Bristol, a 90 metre slide covered in washing-up liquid which 360 people were lucky enough to slide down (some in fancy dress!) These 360 people were picked from the 100,000 people who had applied to have a go on the larger-than-life water slide.
Another exciting project which Hannah spoke about was the ‘Christ the Redeemer’ balloon which was even bigger than the actual statue which stands proud in Rio de Janeiro! The 42 metres tall balloon was made by the team in Bristol for Sports Bet Australia and it’s a good job it’s only hot-air that fills it, as it would need 574,525 footballs if not! Hannah explained that this was one of the most difficult balloons to make, and creating the facial features was definitely a complex task and the whole balloon took 16 weeks to complete.
Speaking of complex, Hannah then went on to explain the complexity of creating balloons for people flying around the world in a hot-air balloon, “When people fly around the world, their balloons require life support so that they are able to eat and sleep whilst they are travelling. These also have a complex internal structure and require up to 26.5km worth of sewing!”
Whatever shape or size, Cameron Balloons can make anywhere between 80–130 balloons each year, with a balloon being completed every few working days! Hannah praised the 54 staff which make up the Cameron Balloons team, “It’s busy but I have amazing colleagues, there’s a really good work ethic here, and by working together we can achieve anything, well nearly anything!” We asked what was next for Cameron Balloons (that’s when they’ve got over the crazy weekend at the Bristol Balloon Fiesta!) to which she replied “We have some really exciting projects ahead including some very special shapes in 2014, but they’re a secret!” I guess we’ll just have to keep an eye out for their next designs!
In the mean time, if you want to keep up to date with what Cameron Balloons, click here to head over to the website.
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