Hot air balloon display boosts ambulance charity

A hot air balloon display was just one of the attractions on offer at the fifth birthday party of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance Service, held from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm on Saturday, June 30.

The summer fair, held on Popham Airfield close to Basingstoke, attracted several hundred visitors, who enjoyed the various craft stalls and performances by variety of musicians, including local agricultural band The Plonkers and the rather more conventional Cascade Southdown Ladies’ Choir.

The Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance, which has undertaken 3,500 missions since it first launched in 2007, and the Air Ambulance from nearby Thames Valley and Chiltern took pride of place at the fair. It was attended by their crews, including David Bronnimann, the Hampshire pilot who has flown on hundreds of calls since he joined the crew in 2008.

The AN2 bi-plane made a dramatic fly past overhead, while an exhibition of vehicles of different vintages, including a range of motorcycles, rally cars, and coaches, as well as a selection of emergency vehicles, including old ambulances, highlighted the state of the art equipment on the modern air ambulances.

The day proved a great success with entertainment for the whole family, including Zumba dancers, children’s motorcycle display team The Tigers, a drum and trumpet corps and a dog show, as well as the hot air balloon display and the usual refreshments and local produce stalls.

The Air Ambulance service is a charity which relies on public donation and needs to raise over £100,000 each month to keep flying.

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