Finally we can get the BBM&L 16th Inflation Day under way (third time of asking)! Once again we are back at Pidley, Huntingdon, but not in the same location as previous years, but we look forward to a successful days event and remain indebted to David Hopkins for allowing the use of his land for the event.


GATES OPEN: 7:30am Spectator vehicles will be directed to the public parking area which will be adjacent to the inflation area tree-line!

BRIEFING:   8:30am at the BBM&L Display Trailer: The BBM&L Inflation event will commence with briefing and close at the end of prize giving – expected to be about 17:15, but subject to final confirmation.

SPECTATORS ENTRY FEE; All spectators will be charged a £5.00 donation per person (no charge for under 16’s). Payment must be cash please (NO card facilities available). All will be issued with a wristband to enable access to and from the site!

ARENA ACCESS: Non-balloonists are asked to remain behind the treeline for their own safety!

DRIVING & SAFETY ON SITE: Please remember we are guests of David Hopkins. Drive considerately at all times whilst on site keep to a safe speed so as not to endanger pedestrians or fellow balloonists. Please respect others property and especially ensure children are properly supervised – it is going to be a busy day (weather permitting!)

LOCATION: The site is located on OS Map 142 Ref: 334 784 Manor Farm (or PE28 3DD closest post-code).

FACILITIES: Toilets are available, and a refreshments van will be located adjacent to the inflation area.

CAMPING:  Camping is permitted and located within the site – a donation of £10 will apply for the weekend. No pre-booking required – payment on site!


BALLOON REGISTRATION: Balloonists are required to complete a registration form in advance (available via BBM&L web site with balloon details, and emailed to Tim Turner ( or post to: 11 Gilbey Close, Wellingborough, Northants NN9 5YG. Retain a copy for yourself for production on arrival at the Pidley gate to be eligible for 2 free entry tickets – balloon & bottom end, one free entry for balloon only or models, others within the vehicle are required to pay!

DAYLIGHT TIMES; Sunrise 05:46 and Sunset 20:12 (both BST)

BALLOON SAFETY: All inflations must use a three-point tether system.

PROPANE:  No gas is available so please come with full tanks!

CofA INSPECTIONS: Inspections welcome, by direct arrangement with a CofA Inspector.

LEGAL REQUIREMENTS:  Pilots are reminded of their obligation in respect of the validity of licences (including current medicals), and compliance with the ANO and insurance requirements.

INSURANCE:  All balloon owners/operators must comply with the 2005 EU directives.

PRIZES:  Balloons over 15 years old (i.e. balloons registered before 23rd April 2007), and registered for the event, will be eligible for prizes as decided by the BBM&L Council.  As usual, the nature of awards which warrant prizes, will remain a mystery to all but the organisers until announced at prize giving!      


OUR SPONSORS NOTE: LAAS International has once again very kindly sponsored the event for which we are extremely grateful. LAAS is an aviation enthusiasts group, and for an annual subscription of £43 you get a monthly magazine featuring all matters aviation in the UK – for further details see their web site at:

CHILDREN: Children travelling with balloonists are allowed in the inflation area but are to be supervised at all times – games not permitted.

FURTHER INFO:  Any questions please contact Tim Turner 01933 710276, mobile 07779 528243 or email  The BBM&L website  is where all information relating to the event can be found.

Whether you currently own a balloon, have access to a balloon or are simply curious as to what ballooning is all about –


Sponsored by LAAS International


With just over two weeks to go I thought an update on the plans for the approaching BBM&L Inflation Day – Saturday 23rd April 2022! Glad to say things are progressing nicely – I currently have 45 balloons registered for the event (thank you Ian Chadwick for the latest entry) which is a brilliant effort and thanks to all the pilots and crews for planning to attend – some are going to be VERY busy with the length of their entries and there are some real ‘goodies’ on the list (Mark Stelling has been ‘working overtime’ for the event benefit!) The Museum’s contribution is to be added to that number so a further 15 to be potentially on view! The Museum has two Piccard’s which are planned for inflation together (sadly Don Piccard a VP of the BBM&L, died in 2020). Three London Pride’s are planned for inflation together for the first time since Cardington 1997 (anyone remember that event). Also to be inflated will be Carousel II (G-BDSK) as a tribute to Renee Thornton (who also sadly died in 2020) who, being a founder member of the BBM&L, and in appreciation of her dedication over many years on the Museum Council!

Briefing is planned for 08:30 and inflations there-after – here is hoping for some good weather to finally get this event going – really looking forward to seeing everyone and lots of colourful balloons again! The BBM&L display trailer will be active for any membership renewals and sales plus a couple of other aviation stands, a burger van will be on site with the golfclub facilities available at Lakeside!

We are keeping the entry charge to £5 pp cash on the gate please (I know cash is used rarely used these days but please have it available as there is no alternative). Pilots please bring a copy of your entry form to get your two person free entry (others must pay), balloon only and models entitled to one free entry – show registration form on arrival!

As ever our thanks for LAAS International for once again sponsoring the event – very welcome support which helps us with event overheads, and of course our appreciation to David Hopkins for allowing us to use his land for this years event!

That’s about all, so – see you on the 23rd April!


Tim Turner

Registration form is HERE.

Inflation Day – 23 April 2022.

We are delighted that David Hopkins has kept to his promise that the event can be held on his land at the top of Fen Road, Pidley (NOT at Lakeside Golf Complex as in previous years). Early days in the planning but further details will be forthcoming in due course but I am expecting the format to follow a similar pattern to previous events!

We are planning to continue with the original idea of celebrating 40 years of the BBM&L (2 years late – where has that time gone!) and this will be one of the planned themes i.e. 40 year old balloons! Not that this will stop balloons of any age attending – all will be welcome as ever!

We hope you will put the date in your diaries and we look forward to making it a fantastic event and lets put Covid behind us and have a ‘normal’ ballooning event again!

Entry is now OPEN and registration form is HERE.

Renee Thornton, 1931-2020

Vice President of the British Balloon Museum & Library.

     We were saddened to hear that Renee had died in her sleep. She was a friend, a balloonist and an artist, and her art group meant a lot to her in the last few years.

    David Barker had known Renee longer than most of us and he kindly wrote the following. 

      ‘After crewing for gas balloons for several years Renee (born 15 July 1931) became a founder member of the Southern Balloon Group, latterly with myself as the only other continuing member.  The group bought Carousel in 1972 and then, after Renee had gained her licence, Carousel 2 in 1976, then Renee bought her own balloon Diadem in 1980.  

    We went to Carate Brianza in 1975 to train Piero Porati,  where Renee made a hit with the local press who called her La Prima Donna Montgolfiera.  


    I’ll never forget the sight of Renee marching down the road when she landed there after a solo flight, followed by some half a dozen Italians carrying the basket then even more of them carrying the envelope.  

   I made many flights with Renee, both for her training then the World Championships in 1977 where we were placed 8th, the highest placed UK team.  Together we twice won the Irish Championships, we flew in Spain in 1978, in Morocco, Belgium and France, and took part in the first Château d’Oex meeting in 1979 and the first flight over London for 40 years, in 1978. 

   Renee worked in the personnel department of The John Lewis Partnership up to her retirement latterly in Bristol, where she lived. She was a founder member and later vice president of the BBM&L.’

David Barker 

     Very sad news to receive Jenni, she was a big supporter of the Museum in times gone by and I have her down as Founder Member number 2, she was the first treasurer (1980 to 1984) and retired from the Council in 2009 when we appointed her as a VP! A sad loss to the ballooning world!

Tim Turner, BBM&L Secretary


We’re back again.

We recently learned that our website became unavailable and showed an error page.

Thank you to those of you who took the trouble to let us know.

All is now well and you should find everything available at the click of a button.

If you have any problems, please let us know and we will be happy to help.

The *virtual* Inflation Day 2020

The balloons pictured below all registered to attend the Inflation Day and we take our hats off to all the pilots and crews who had the date firmly written in their diaries.
It is seldom we get the chance to see these historic balloons and we send our thanks to Sandy Mitchell and Tim Turner for the photographs.

We had ten Hoppers registered up to the date of cancellation, otherwise you may be sure we would have seen many more on the day.

We were looking forward to celebrating 40 Years of the Museum Line-Up – balloons registered in the Museum’s birth year 1979, mostly Museum balloons plus one or two others …

The Inflation Day is traditionally a good day to raise funds for the Museum so we are thinking of ways of boosting the kitty whilst still having fun.
And of course, there is always the DONATION PAGE 🙂

Inflation Day 2020, 25th April

Inflation Day 2020 – CANCELLED.



It is with a heavy heart that we have to announce the cancellation of Inflation Day 2020.

The situation with Corona virus changes daily and it with everyone’s safety in mind that we have had to make this decision.

As things stand, we do not expect to be able to find another date in 2020 so we shall work on a date and venue for 2021.

Thank you for your understanding and continued support.




Tim Turner

BBM&L Secretary & Inflation Day Co-Ordinator

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