Tuesday morning this week was something of a first for Derbyshire Virgin balloon pilot Neal Parry. After a 20 year career in corporate finance, the last 16 years piloting balloons and a stint flying in Kenya’s Masai Mara, this was the first time Neal had literally had the earth moved for him!
His early morning balloon flight had launched from Bakewell showground, and drifted peacefully above Derbyshire for around an hour. The dad-of-two started to descend the balloon and picked a spacious landing spot on Chesterfield’s Grassmoor Golf Club to bring down the passengers and toast their wonderful flight.
Once on the ground, the pilot and passengers began to pack away the balloon whilst the ground crew gained access to pick up the balloon and basket and to ensure passengers were returned to their original launch site.
A nearby landscaper working on the golf club terrain appeared like a knight in shining armour and created a path for the retrieval crew to get to the balloon.
“The nice digger man (who described the digger as his “baby”!) smoothed out some of the extreme hard landscaping he was working on at Grassmoor Golf Club in order to make it easier for the crew, it was a bit of a surreal experience to have the earth moved for us!!” said pilot Neal.
Thank you to Grassmoor Golf Club for being so wonderfully accommodating.