Abercrombie & Kent
Inaugural Balloon Flight crack
Cheltenham’s luxury tour operator, Abercrombie & Kent, has launched its hot air balloon with the inaugural flight taking off from the historic gardens of Pittville Park, treating the 10 passengers to spectacular views of the Cotswolds as it flew towards Winchcombe, landing in a meadow near Stanway an hour later, flying at around 1,000 feet and a speed of eight knots.
Abercrombie & Kent is sponsoring Tetbury-based operator, Ballooning in the Cotswolds Ltd, with the provision of the 12-passenger hot air balloon on a permanent basis to fly commercially from a number of sites in Gloucestershire. The inaugural flight was piloted by Andrew Gregory, who has over 1,200 flying hours to his credit. Ballooning in the Cotswolds has launch sites throughout the Cotswolds, including Bourton-on-the-Water, Cirencester, Gloucester and Naunton Park in Cheltenham.
Annabel Tremaine, Head of Marketing at Abercrombie & Kent was pleased that the launch went so smoothly, “We were delighted with our balloon’s inaugural flight and were lucky that the wind was blowing in a north-easterly direction, affording us wonderful views of the racecourse and Cleeve Hill. For Abercrombie & Kent, a hot air balloon is very fitting way to promote our credentials as a tour operator, while supporting a local company, Ballooning in the Cotswolds, to whom we have loaned our balloon on a permanent basis”.
The hot air balloon is also to be used for a number of special promotions in the company’s calendar of events throughout the summer, including a presence at the Cheltenham Cricket Festival, where the company is the official sponsor for the A&K Coaching Zone, supporting the work of Gloucestershire County Cricket Club in its efforts to bring cricket to the next generation.
The A&K Coaching Zone is an area set aside to provide free cricket coaching to both boys and girls of all ages, as well as involving youngsters in competitions and other activities, making it a favourite amongst children at the festival.
The A&K Coaching Zone will be run by ex-Gloucestershire pro, Damian Forder, who runs the Gloucestershire County Cricket Club Academy.
Chief Executive for Gloucestershire County Cricket Club, Tom Richardson, is delighted that Abercrombie & Kent has become a sponsor of the club, as he commented, “It is always exciting to form new partnerships and we are very much looking forward to working with them. We are really keen to encourage young people to come to the Cheltenham Cricket Festival and get involved with cricket and this is a very important initiative to help us achieve this.”
The free coaching sessions in the A&K Coaching Zone will be from 12pm until 1:30pm and 2pm until 3:30pm during the four day matches in which Gloucestershire play Kent from Wednesday 20th-Saturday 23rd July and Gloucestershire Vs Surrey the following week.
During the one-day matches against Nottingham 24th July, Essex 26th July and Lancashire 31st July, the A&K Coaching Zone will be open 3pm until 4:30pm and 5pm until 6:30pm.
Abercrombie & Kent creates luxury holidays around the world. A&K’s Managing Director, Justin Wateridge says, “As a company committed to supporting the local community, we are delighted to be getting involved in the Cheltenham area, working with local organisations, supporting community initiatives, hosting events or participating in fundraising initiatives.
The company is dedicated to supporting a number of events within the region and recently took part in the Dragon Boat Regatta at Gloucester Docks, where a team of 16 rowers plus a drummer from the company raised the money by taking part in the annual race in a 40 foot long canoe, rowing across the water to the rhythm of a drum in front of thousands of spectators.
Abercrombie & Kent came 8th out of 13 teams taking part in the event and the team has raised a significant amount for the CLIC Sargent charity, a worthy cause helping youngsters and their families who are dealing with treatment for cancer or leukaemia.
Melissa Matthews, Events and Marketing Executive at Abercrombie & Kent and part of the rowing team was pleased with the outcome of the event, “The boat race went well and was great fun. We were really pleased with our position since we’d done zero training and still raised in excess of £2,500.”
Abercrombie & Kent is also involved in sponsoring projects overseas and work with conservation agencies such as Galapagos Conservation trust, Save the Rhino, Tusk Trust and Tour Operators for Tigers. The company hosted an Antarctica event at Cheltenham College earlier in the year, with Falklands veteran Simon Weston and Dr David Wilson, the grandson of explorer Dr Edward Wilson who accompanied Captain Scott on his doomed expedition to the White Continent, resulting in a £1,000 donation to Friends of the Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum who attended the event with an exhibition of Edward Wilson’s original watercolours.