Poacher 2017 — the International Scout and Guide Jamboree — will see the University of Nottingham’s hot air balloon take to the skies high above Lincolnshire this summer.
The eight-day event, returning to the Lincolnshire Showground from 29 July to 5 August 2017, will feature over 70 adventure activities as well as many creative and skill-based workshops — from balloon modelling and copper stamping to survival experiences, water zorbing and learning circus skills — and welcome more than 5,500 young people, aged 10 to 17, to share the adventure.
Poacher 2017 will be Lincolnshire’s 10th International Jamboree, welcoming visitors from 25 countries. The presence of this spectacular balloon will make a fitting celebration and some young adventurers will be lucky enough to take a flight.
The University of Nottingham has an impressive association and history with hot air ballooning and thanks to a loyal team of supporters the balloon — known as G-NUNI — continues to fly high.
World-record breaking balloonist Dr Janet Folkes piloted the University hot air balloon, which featured regularly at events both in the UK and abroad, before she sadly lost her long battle with cancer in 2012. In her academic life she lectured in engineering at the University. But away from academia, Dr Folkes was known for her love of flying and her sense of adventure.
Team Janet — the University of Nottingham Hot Air Balloon Team — continue to keep the balloon airworthy, flying annually at the Chatsworth Country Fair. Yvonne Stephenson, along with her husband Paul, will be joined by pilot Ian Warrington, Andrew Hallsworth, who is a regular freelance photographer for the University, and a number of other crew members during the event.
Yvonne, who is a member of the East Midlands Balloon Group was invited by the Jamboree organisers to attend the event.
She said: “When I heard that the Poacher International Jamboree organisers were keen to explore the potential of having a hot air balloon as part of their activities, I made contact with them immediately as I felt it would be a great opportunity for the University balloon to be there amongst its potential future generation of students.
“The organisers are thrilled at the thought of having a hot air balloon as part of their 40th anniversary activities as there has never been one at this event before so they are really excited about the prospect.”
The Team are very proud to continue flying the balloon on the University’s behalf, as much to keep Janet’s legacy going, as for their own enjoyment. Weather-permitting the Team hope to get as many young Scouts and Guides airborne as possible with flights and tethers and also plan to talk to them about Janet’s exciting career and record-breaking ballooning adventures.
Yvonne added: “Janet was always keen to encourage new young people into the sport and the Poacher is the perfect place to achieve just that.”
Yvonne has managed to secure funding to take G-NUNI to the Jamboree with £3,500 donated by the Poacher International Jamboree and a further £1,500 provided by the University’s Sports Department.
The University of Nottingham’s Sports Department are the current custodians of G-NUNI. Marcus Spain, Assistant Director of Sport and Physical Recreation, said: “Providing new and exciting opportunities to take part in sports of all kinds, is central to the University of Nottingham Sport ethos.
“With that in mind, we’re really pleased to be able to support the Lincolnshire Poacher event in this way, and I’m sure the balloon will provide the Scouts and Guides with some truly memorable experiences.”
Photographs will be available on request.
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