Pupils at a Merseyside school saw their summer term off to a flying start by getting up close and personal with a hot air balloon in Liverpool.
Virgin Balloon Flights paid a very special visit to Millbrook Primary School in Kirkby, after children in Year Six wrote personal letters of invitation asking us to bring one of our balloons.
And on the morning of Friday 28th April 2017, one of our pilots and crew did just that, inflating and tethering the balloon on the playing field in front of more than 300 children and their teachers.
Even their local neighbourhood police officers stopped by to watch.
Teachers then had the chance to hop in the basket for a short tethered flight, while pupils asked our pilot and crew a wide range of questions about hot air balloons and what it’s like to fly them.
And as an extra special treat, the children who wrote letters were invited to help pack the balloon away at the end and climb into the basket once it was back on solid ground.
Emma Hart is the teacher who initially contacted Virgin Balloon Flights to request the visit.
“It was a truly amazing experience for all staff and children at our school and will have a huge impact upon the work completed by our children for our topic Up, Up and Away,” she said.
“It was a once in a life time experience for most children and staff at our school and this will be something we will never forget. The children were so excited when they all went back to class and from this we have lots of exciting activities to link with all areas of the curriculum.”
With a busy flying schedule running from March to November, it is not often possible for Virgin Balloon Flights visit schools.
“But having already had an initial request from Ms Hart, we then received so many lovely letters from pupils in Year Six asking us to visit Millbrook that we had to try and find a way to visit, “ said our operations assistant Ben Heathcote.
“You can’t really fly a hot air balloon in Liverpool due to its coastal location but we were able to bring along our non-passenger carrying ‘baby’ balloon to tether at the school.
“We had some really great questions from some very excited pupils, who were all absolutely brilliant and we really enjoyed our visit.”
While Merseyside itself is too close to the coast to fly our big passenger balloons, Virgin Balloon Flights does fly from several launch sites nearby, including Lancaster, Manchester and Nantwich.