Nearly 70 past and present members of the Nottingham & Derby Hot Air Balloon Club attended a special gala dinner to celebrate the club’s 40th anniversary.
After enjoying a three-course meal, one of the original founder members, retired Nottingham University lecturer Ian Hooker, gave a talk about how the club was started by the former CEO of Nottingham Building Society, John Webster.
An advert had been placed in some local newspapers and about 40 people had attended the club’s inaugural meeting and inflation at Wollaton Park in November 1978.
Ian spoke about several amusing incidents in the club’s history, including one in May 1980 when the balloon was becalmed over some remote moors west of Sheffield.
After running out of fuel, the pilot and passengers had to walk seven miles in pouring rain to get to a pub with a phone where they could speak to the retrieve crew.
The balloon had to be left overnight and collected the next day.
Robin Macey gave a presentation of photos of the many highlights that the club has been involved in.
These included flying across the English Channel in 2005 and also participating at balloon meets abroad, where the club had taken part in setting a world record for the most balloons launched in under an hour.
The club has trained about 20 people as pilots in its history and many of these attended the dinner.
The club founder, John Webster, now lives permanently in South Africa, but had sent a video message of congratulations that was played to members.
Live music during the evening was provided by the five-piece jazz band Washington Whirligig.