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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Councillor wants answers over balloon festival `switch'


* A balloon in flight over Llangollen at this year's festival.
A Llangollen county councillor says he aims to find out exactly why the town appears to have lost one of its biggest crowd-pulling events.
The Border Counties Advertizer is reporting today that the Wales International Balloon Festival, which has been held on Llangollen Pavilion field since 1997, will be staged instead at the British Ironwork Centre in Oswestry over the bank holiday weekend next August.

Although bosses at the Ironworks told the newspaper they are “excited” about the move there is no indication in the story about why the switch is being made.
Cllr Stuart Davies said: “If this is the case it is certainly a big loss to Llangollen, especially after getting the event back this September after it had been away from the town for a few years.

“I’ve heard an estimate that there were 7,000 people on the field over the weekend and that people were also spending money in the town.”
He added: “I intend to speak to the organisers to check this out and to find out what has caused them to move elsewhere.

“It’s seems ironic that an event called the Wales International Balloon Festival is now apparently going to be held in England.”  
The Advertizer story says that the festival will take place on the weekend of August 26 and 27 and will be held in collaboration with Lindstrands.

Per Lindstrand first appeared on the international ballooning scene in 1978 and then went on to create Lindstrand Technologies Ltd based in Oswestry.
He is well-known for his record-breaking hot air balloon flights and for his attempts to be the first to fly a Rozière balloon around the earth with Sir Richard Branson.

Sophia Knowles, the operations director at the British Ironwork Centre, is quoted in the story as saying: “Shropshire is such a beautiful, scenic county, it really is a wonderful area to embark on a balloon flight.
“We are very excited about this event.”

The event will raise funds for Nightingale House Hospice, in Wrexham which provides specialist palliative care service for patients with life-limiting illness across Shropshire and beyond.
* See the full Advertizer story at: http://bordercountiesadvertizer.co.uk/news/169119/british-ironwork-centre-to-host-popular-wales-international-balloon-festival-in-2017.aspx

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