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Monday, 26 July 2021
PUPILS at Peppard Primary School were given a shock when a hot air balloon landed in the middle of their PE lesson.
The children spotted the balloon above the school in Church Lane and when they started waving and shouting, pilot Hugo Hall landed on the common nearby.
The year five and six pupils offered him a cup of tea and in return he gave them a lesson about ballooning. About 96 pupils gathered around the hot air balloon to learn about the history of ballooning and aerodynamics. Afterwards, they helped pack the balloon away.
Mr Hall, 28, of Fly Away Ballooning in Bristol, said he couldn’t pass up the opportunity when he saw how excited the children were.
He said: “I’ve never heard kids screaming so much. They all came out and sat down and we could see the shock on their faces. We kept the balloon standing for them and gave them a lesson on how balloons work and the history of ballooning. We then brought it down to pack away as it was their PE lesson.”
Mr Hall, who started the ballooning company during the first coronavirus lockdown last year, set off from a private airfield in Henley and was planning to land in Sonning Common until he heard the children.
Fiona Hilton, the school’s adminstrator, said the children enjoyed the unexpected visit.
She said: “We saw the balloon from the back of the school at a distance and then realised it was coming towards us so we were all waving like mad. Then we all ran outside to see it coming down on the field from behind the fence.
“The lesson was fabulous and you can imagine how fun it was for the children to bang the air out of the balloon with their hands and then help pack it away on what was a glorious day.”
Mr Hall, who is from Somerset, has flown balloons for much of his life and his grandmother, Lady Gwen Bellew, co-founded the London Balloon Club in 1967 and was one of the first women in the UK to acquire a hot air balloon licence. He trained in the Yarra Valley in Australia.
The balloon is used for private bookings as well as informational flights for Bath Gin.
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