Friday, November 03, 2006

Hot Air Balloon Dumped in Wood

Lucky day for balloon owner, from BBC website.

Forestry workers never expected to discover a £6,000 hot-air balloon, complete with four-person basket and burners, dumped in a woodland lay-by.

Forestry Commission Wales manager Richard Gable came across it near Tintern Abbey, Monmouthshire.

Its identity tag was still attached, meaning it could be returned to owner Graham Smith, who lives near Bristol.

"It has to be said, this is the most bizarre thing we've ever found tipped anywhere in the valley," said Mr Gable.

He found the lime-green, blue and pink balloon - which stands 22 metres high - while doing his rounds in the Wye Valley, a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The newly-created lay-by used to be a familiar dumping spot for old cars, but this was something entirely different.

Hot air balloons
Mr Smith said he feared the thieves had set the balloon alight

The owner, Graham Smith, of Thornbury, was delighted to see the balloon again.

"It was stolen with its trailer from outside my house in September," he said.

"I was devastated. Ballooning really is my life, my being.

"I've had the balloon since 1989 and looked after it with a lot of love and care for all those years.

"Having it stolen was simply dreadful.

"Honestly, I never thought I'd see it again - I knew it was stolen because of the trailer, so when they found the balloon inside I thought they'd probably set it alight."

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