07/05/2010 Back to News
Flying Man of Pocklington Meet Report by Malc Skilbeck
The Flying Man of Pocklington is an annual meet and celebrates the exploits of a famous son of the town, Thomas Pelling.

This year was practically a wash out for ballooning, apart from the good time had by the few.
7th to the 9th May 2010

As usual The Pocklington Flying Man Festival Committee Chairman contacted me back in December to tell me the date for the 2010 event and asked if The Pennine Balloon Association would be willing to take part again. I immediately sent an email to the Chairman of The Wolds Gliding Club to arrange the event base and accommodation. Christmas came and went with no response from them so another email was sent in late January - still no response.

As Mo and I were heading “down under” on February 3rd and not planning to be back until the snow had gone on April 1st , things needed to be finalised so I could get things advertised. I rang the Gliding Club Secretary who admitted receiving my email but had assumed other Gliding Club committee members had actioned it, their committee meeting was to be held the following week so he would ensure it was discussed.

After the meeting I received an email informing me that, yes, we were welcome to have the event at The Gliding Club again, but a charge of £40 per balloon (£20 last year) would be levied and a charge for a possible increase in the cost of their insurance due to our gassing up procedures?

I consulted our Chairman (Mr Chamberlain) who came out with his now world famous phrase “HOW MUCH” – the decision was made to go ahead with the event without the use of the Gliding Club facilities – off Mo and I went to New Zealand, slight delay while they shifted the snow of the runway and de iced the wings but it was straight on with the shorts and sandals when we arrived in Aukland.

April fools day and we reluctantly arrive back home – at least the snows gone, good job because the central heating boiler had packed up a couple of weeks earlier, luckily no frozen pipes!!

One or two emails had arrived from people wondering what’s happening with The Flying Man Meet and three confirmed entries.

Energas were contacted, after negotiation the price of a 104 turns out to be £32 + 5% vat, 6 cylinders are ordered with a possible increase on the Monday prior to the event – not required!

The week before the event we have 6 teams confirmed and several undecided no doubt watching the weather. The final list consisted of: -

Terry Chamberlain and myself with G LIMP, Cameron C80
Duncan Lambert with G RIXY, Cameron Z77
Jeff Percival with GMFLM, Cameron Viva 90
Dave Hartland with GLBUK a L77A
Paul Wade GSUCK a Cameron Z105
Mike Bellamy with G BVDB Thunder 77S1
Andy Evans with GVKUP
Ian Comley with GBZBI
Alex & Elaine Smith with GOATV

Friday evening it’s cold and the winds blowing, I sat quite lonely in our new large, echoing, signing on point which could have coped with dozens of balloon teams but only Mike and Mary Bellamy, Team Hartland and the “Limp Wimps” came to take advantage of any miraculous change in the weather.

This year, as last, the grand opening ceremony was to be held in Burnby Hall Gardens next to the lake, a few free tickets were handed out but only a hardy few ventured to the open air gathering.

We called it a day and headed for The Cross Keys to drown our sorrows.

Saturday morning dawned with “no change” so a very quick briefing was followed by a Pennine Committee meeting, the rest of the weekend, apart from a visit to the Italian restaurant in Pocklington, was cancelled!

Thomas Pelling (The Flying Man) would have been dismayed, as, like him, this year we failed to fly, I’m sorry but with the cold weather the pub lured us away from visiting his epitaph which is on the wall at the rear of All Saints Church, where he fell to his death.

The Flying Man committee are doing it again next year and would like us to attend and Pocklington School are happy for us to use the Army Cadets HQ again, we can’t get worse weather next year can we???

Thanks to the teams who paid their £10 entry fee before, during or after the “non event”, as most people know the Pennine policy is “non refundable entry fees” so with minimal expenses the profit will no doubt be put to good use.

Malc Skilbeck
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