Lakeside Lodge to host British Balloon Museum & Library Inflation Day

G-PINTThe British Balloon Museum & Library (BBM&L) have never had one of their Inflation Days in Cambridgeshire before.

They hold an Inflation Day every two years to ‘air’ the collection of over 100 colourful balloons and to show the public and balloonists, current and ex, how their donations have help save some amazing artefacts.

In 2008, over 60 balloons, old and new, were puffed up, and some newer ones were able to fly. This year David Hopkins, owner of Lakeside Lodge in Pidley, has very kindly offered his grounds and Golf Club facilities for the 2010 Inflation Day.

Over 10 new donations of old balloons were offered to the Museum this year, and some haven’t been seen for a very long time, this will be a chance for spotters and balloonists to catch a sight of them again.

2010 actually marks the 50th Anniversary of the modern hot air balloon. Two American balloonists sat on a plank of wood under a hot-air balloon, and flew over the English Channel. In 1965 the British Balloon & Airship Club (BBAC) was founded, and 90 people attended the first meeting at the Royal Aero Club in November of that year.

The sport grew in popularity, and by the late 1970’s several pilots, of both gas and hot-air balloons realised that unless something was done, all their contemporary equipment would eventually be cast aside or left to gather cobwebs in the dark recesses of garages and barns as they progressed to bigger and better balloons.

A dedicated band of balloon enthusiasts held several informal meetings and eventually The British Balloon Museum & Library (BBM&L) was formed and registered as a charity in the autumn of 1980. Its aims were the collection, preservation and display of items relating to lighter than air flight.

The Museum has displays and exhibits at The Manchester Museum of Science & Industry, the Science Museum, Berkshire Museum of Aviation but no permanent building in which to display the collection – yet. It relies on the generosity of Friends and Associates for storage.

In a perfect world, the Museum would hope at some time to have a dedicated building to house the collection, provide a display, and give access to the public. However this would depend on a sizeable amount of finance which would need to be raised through donation, fundraising and membership.

TrailerThe BBM&L do have an exhibition trailer which will be at Pidley with photographs and stories, and people to answer questions. If the Public can’t come to the museum, then the Museum will go to the public

On Saturday May 15th, the BBM&L hope to puff up as many balloons as they can, and in the late evening, the newer ones will probably fly off over the countryside including a large barrel balloon which was commissioned by the Charles Wells Brewery back in the early 1980s.

Then it had the names of beers on the side, now it has the BBM&L logo. But it is hope it will fly on Saturday night, and that Peter Wells, Director of the Charles Wells Brewery will be there, and Tony Hill, one of the original pilots, and is the marketing Manager for the Brewery now.

Inside trailerAs there will be prizes to the pilots who can inflate the most amount of envelopes, the day should be non stop colour and hot air.

If it is raining or gusty then the whole day will move to the Sunday 16th.

It should be quite spectacular, which ever day it is held.