Formed in July 2017, the Bristol Balloon Collectors save and preserve old hot air balloons from being destroyed or thrown away, inflating them for even more people to enjoy. Growing up in Bristol regularly visiting the famous balloon fiesta, brothers Liam and Dan, who run the collection, have a real passion for what they do.
As Liam was searching for an old envelope to practice inflations on, they soon got hold of the 1989-built Badgerline balloon by a local balloonist. Badgerline appeared at many UK balloon festivals years ago. It was inflated at Ashton Court in June 2017 and this sparked the idea of starting to collect old balloons.
Once Bristol Balloon Collectors was set up donations shortly followed including Decora, BWS Security Systems, Spa Vehicle Electrics, Roman Baths, Trademaster and Bryan Brothers - all of which had graced the skies of Bristol and Bath in the past.
The team were thrilled to be donated the iconic Cameron N-90 G-BUVW, known as the ‘Bristol Balloon’, which features artwork of the Clifton suspension bridge with balloons above, and soon became the collection’s logo.
Built for the Queen’s silver jubilee in 1977, the brothers were also given the recognisable G-EIIR envelope, which attended the first ever Bristol Balloon Fiesta in 1979. It was in very poor condition along with Trademaster after being stored in damp conditions for years - they were both inflated and dried out in early 2018.
Other donations included Teachers Assurance, Sky Balloons, Business Design, Ford Sandicliffe, Pettefords, The Royal Crescent Hotel and recent addition Asda.
The Bristol Balloon Collectors have been invited to showcase their retro balloons at some of the largest balloon festivals in the country, with the Midlands Air Festival and Bristol Balloon Fiesta being yearly highlights. This also includes the Sky Safari at Longleat, Icicle Refrozen Balloon Meet, Abingdon and Henley firework festivals.
The collection has now grown to over 40 balloons and is likely to pass the 50 mark in 2021 after securing extra storage space. The total includes 3 German envelopes and a Burmese home build made from the panels of the first rides hot air balloon in Burma XY-AHA. 2 special shapes have also been acquired. The first, one of the earliest British shapes; the 1981 Satzenbrau beer bottle, and secondly German registered Auto Bild manufactured by Cameron’s in 1995 which features small add-ons.
Do you have an old balloon you want to donate? Contact Dan on their social channels via the links below and he will get back to you.
Watch new YouTube video about the collection...
Click below to watch the collection's YouTube video created by MJ Ballooning.
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