Sky high surprise for Shropshire pupils as hot air balloon lands at schools

Youngsters at two Shropshire schools had a sky-high surprise when they were visited by a pilot in a hot air balloon.

Newport C.E. Junior School and Lawley Village Primary Academy hosted the visit by the Virgin balloon and pilot William Wood on Friday.

Pupils were given a talk about hot air balloons, and even got to see the balloon take off while tethered.

Andrew Rotherham, deputy headteacher at the Newport school, said: “What a great experience for the children.

“It was a total surprise for them, when they turned up in the morning to see a hot air balloon on the field.

“A big thank you to the team from Virgin Balloon Flights for giving us this wonderful experience today.”

Charlie Anslow, nine, said: “It was very big and I’ve never been that close to one before in my life.”

Toby Collins, 10, said: “It was amazing to see that balloon, it was really big. It was a great surprise.”

Caitlin Atkinson, nine, said: “I thought it was a once in a lifetime opportunity and the best Friday morning in school ever.”

Aimee Flynn, 10, said: “It was a privilege. I was quite confused at first but once I realised what it was, I felt privileged because a lot of people don’t get to experience some like that.”

Lawley Village Primary Academy deputy headteacher Tom Wright said: "The children were truly inspired and awestruck when the balloon took (tethered) flight.

Pupils can't believe their eyes

“It is always fantastic for the children to see different career choices and Woody the pilot certainly inspired a number of future aviators.

“Thank you to all the team for such a brilliant opportunity.”

Pilot William Wood, who spoke to the children at each school about hot air balloon after they watched the inflation, said it was a fantastic day.

“The children at both schools were just impeccably behaved and asked some brilliant questions,” he said.

Maria Wilkinson, head of marketing for Virgin Balloon Flights, said: “Hot air balloons never lose their magic, whatever your age and it’s amazing when we get the opportunity to take one of our big red balloons into school.

“Friday just saw everything come together to make it possible for us to visit both Newport Junior School and Lawley Village Academy with one of our smaller hot air balloons.

“The weather was perfect for tethering, we had a pilot available and ended up being able to create this incredible surprise and lasting memory for the children.

“A big thank you to both staff and pupils Newport Junior School and Lawley Village Academy for allowing us to visit your wonderful schools.”

Virgin Balloon Flights is the UK’s only national passenger balloon ride operator, flying from more than 100 locations across England, Scotland and Wales.

Its head office is in Stafford Park, Telford, and last year the company celebrated 25 years of taking people up, up and away.

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