ONE 98-year-old lady reached dizzying altitudes above the south downs, taking in spectacular birds eye views of deer in Petworth Park and the Cowdray Ruins.
Graeme Scaife is the chief pilot at the British School of Ballooning, based in Ebernoe. Last week he met one of most adventurous passengers yet.
“What a wonderful morning made all the better by flying a wonderful sprightly 98 year old lady Hazel Green from Weybridge.
“I have been flying balloons for thirty years and flown many thousands of people of all ages, but certainly I have never met such a wonderful lady for 98 years.
“My eldest prior to this was 92 years.
“It was amazing to think her daughter came with her and she was 73.
“We had beautiful visibility this morning with clear view of the South Downs and the Isle of Wight.
“We drifted to the east of Petworth with a wonderful view of the town and Petworth House.
“Landing was very gentle into a cut grass field near Pulborough.
“I put Hazel in the basket so she came upright as the balloon was inflated and then lifted her out at the end.
“We landed at Stopham near Pulborough and celebrated the flight with a glass of champagne Hazel had a top up.
“I think she will be back on her hundredth birthday.”
Hazel’s daughter Celia Andrews said it was a ‘perfect’ day.
“My mother is very adventurous and loves being the centre of attention,” said Celia.
“For the last two years she has been going on about doing a balloon flight so the whole family clubbed in to send her up.”
Three generations of the family went up in the balloon including Hazel, 98, Celia, 73, and Celia’s daughter Imogen, 43.
“My mother absolutely loved it,” added Celia.
“She’s willing to give anything a go and now she wants to go on a flight from Fairoaks airport - she wants to do a loop-the-loop.
“She’s just not phased by anything.
“It was the most perfect day - it was just magic.”
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