We are excited to announce our second special shape purchase, returning to Bristol alongside G-LIPS. It was built by Cameron Balloons 33 years ago, way back in 1988...
At Ashton Court tonight, first tether in two years! We welcome back to Bristol, Choc Dips! Both Cameron Tub-80 G-DIPI and Thunder & Colt 17A G-DIPZ join our other special shape Cameron Lips-90 G-LIPS.
Huge thanks to Doug Hoddinott, Nicola Hill and Liam Whitelock for making this evening's tether possible and everyone else that helped out (Dan, Chris, Jayden, John, Craig and Mandy).
A bit of history...
Choc Dips was operated by Virgin Airship & Balloon Company in the late 80s and 90s and has been pretty much everywhere in the UK including the Bristol Balloon Fiesta in 1988, 89, 90 and 2012. Its first public appearance was at an ITV telethon event at Sutton Park in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham for kids TV on 30th May 1988. From looking in the logbook other appearances include at Southampton Balloon Festival, Bath Balloon Fiesta, promotional tethers including for the BBC, Telford, Newbury, Newcastle, Wigan, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Tottenham, Sheffield and more. Some pretty long tethers!
G-DIPI was taken to Albuquerque in 1993 then flew five times in 1997 around Bedfordshire, followed by CofA inspection and one further flight before being sold to Belgium. Four years later it was brought back to the UK and back to Bristol, where it appeared at Ashton Court for one tether and one flight across the city.
Following another change of ownership, the Cameron Tub-80 special shape was taken to Sint Niklaas, Warstein, Château-d'Oex (seen alongside Santa and Piper) and Albuquerque.
Previous owner Chris Dobson got the Colt 17A hopper reunited with its big brother after being out in Belgium registered as OO-BRV, and also took G-DIPI to Bristol in 2012 to fly with other classic special shapes such as Action Man and Babybel.
Since its commercial days, the artwork has been changed to read as 'Ohoo Dips' and large pieces of yellow fabric have been added to the hopper to replace the previous artwork.
Here's some photos of both balloons. These two from Bristol 1990 are taken by my grandad, which we scanned in some years ago when I started this website. And the 2012 photo was taken by my dad with 12 year old me beside him, looking up in amazement at all the special shapes and wishing that one day, I would own one... well, I am happy to say that it's come true.
Credits: Chris Leader, Ballooning Pictures UK, cloudhoppers.org, Ollie Warren
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