This week, something really exciting was launched into the skies above Bristol, just moments from Aardman HQ: Wallace & Gromit's Moon Rocket balloon, designed in collaboration with Aardman and operated by Exclusive Ballooning!
The bright orange balloon made its maiden flight from Bristol's Harbourside, sailing across the city skies in the morning and then enjoying a late afternoon flight from the city's Ashton Court Estate.
The distinctively shaped balloon will help to raise money for The Grand Appeal, the dedicated charity for Bristol Children's Hospital, which has raised an incredible £70 million since 1995.
The balloon will take part in flights, workplace and school visits, tethered rides and displays in Bristol and beyond so you'll hopefully get the chance to #spottherocket in the future!
It took nine months to build the balloon (that's the same time it takes for a good Parmesan to age, cheese fans!) and although it can't fly to the moon, it can safely fly to 30,000 feet or more (although the pilot would need an oxygen supply to reach these heights.)
Andrew Holly, director of Exclusive Ballooning, set his sights on building a hot air balloon for the charity after his daughter was treated at Bristol Children’s Hospital in 2018. He explained:
"Whilst in the hospital overnight, I was inspired by the fantastic balloon mural that adorns the corridors and I realised we could really help The Grand Appeal raise some serious funds. The charity does such crucial work valued by so many people at difficult times, it was a no brainer. We decided we would privately sponsor the balloon in full and it was built in complete secrecy.
“We are so excited to be able to launch it into the Bristol skies and will be working with Aardman and The Grand Appeal over the coming years to raise as much money and awareness as we can for the charity, directly benefitting the families of Bristol”.
To see more photos of the balloon, visit the Wallace & Gromit Instagram page.