Wheelchair User Andrew Jeffery Is Set To Participate In
Record-Breaking Balloon Flight
Seventy five hot air balloons, from across the UK and Europe,
are currently on standby to fly across the English Channel to
France from Lydden Hill Race Circuit in Kent. The aim is to raise
funds for four major UK charities while entering the record books,
and as soon as the Met Office gives the all-clear for take-off,
balloons of all shapes and colours will soar above the English
Channel, marking the largest ever group of balloons to attempt the
crossing. Leading aviation business Lindstrand Hot Air Balloons
will be flying four of the balloons.
Mass Ascension At Balloon Fiesta In
One of the Lindstrand balloons making the crossing will be
carrying a panoramic basket, specifically designed for wheelchair
access, a significant development in allowing those with limited
mobility to enjoy ballooning. Flying in the balloon, with Pilot
Steve Kinsey, will be wheelchair user Andrew Jeffrey.
Andrew is a BBC Online Producer and has flown in balloons
several times since his accident in 1979 when, while working
off-shore oil drilling in Angola, West Africa, he fell 40ft and
snapped his back at waist level. His first foray into the sky was
in France with his wife while filming a holiday program, and since
then he has flown in gliders, micro-lights, fixed wing planes and
even jumped out of them, but ballooning is his love.
He first met Pilot Steve Kinsey when he was reporting for BBC
Five Live and broadcast a report from a balloon with Steve in the
Scottish Borders – narrowly avoiding a
“splash-n-dash” in a loch. These days – out of
the office, Andrew is involved with the major UK flying charity
“Aerobility” and is about to embark on managing a new
project for them ... ballooning. Details will be announced via
their website soon.
The event is not only set to enter the record books but will
also raise money and awareness for the Royal Air Force Benevolent
Fund, the Halow Project, Marie Curie and the Royal National
Lifeboat Institute. Event organiser, Ian Sharpe, said: “We
have got balloons from all over the country and some from abroad
taking part. This year is the 50th anniversary of the first modern
hot air balloon flight and I can’t think of a better way to
The balloons are on 24hr standby until October 31. Subject
to weather conditions this may be extended into November.