No amount of thunder and lightning will stop the British from launching balloons, usually in the direction of Belgium.
August is traditionally a quiet period for social activity in the construction industry. PRs are too busy sunning themselves in the Balearics to worry about printing up address labels for launch events and industry bigwigs would rather be fiddling with their spinnakers than spinning out stories to the press.
For some reason though August seems to be a busy month for balloon launches. Maybe it’s connected to the British tradition of holding balloon races at summer fetes. This is where children spend 50p on a balloon hoping that it will travel further than anybody else’s. Children would wonder where on earth their balloons might land. But they needn’t have - for some reason the address labels attached to the balloon always returned with a Belgium postmark. If anybody’s balloon has ever travelled further Building would like to know.
Havebury Housing Partnership continued this time-honoured practice of littering the continent with little bits of rubber and string at the opening of its new headquarters in Bury St Edmunds.
Councillor Sheila Wormleighton was given the honour of releasing the 100 green and yellow balloons, ably assisted by Arthur Smith, chairman of Havebury’s tenants forum and two other vice-chair-people. Luckily the stormy weather Britain has suffered this summer kept at bay and the Havebury tenants group were not lost to a strong gust of wind.
Havebury’s balloon display may have impressed the locals, but it was nothing compared to the 10,000 balloons launched by show offs in Milton Keynes. If you remember the red balloon MK commercial that ran in the 1980s, you will understand there was some method behind the madness.
The launch marked the 20th anniversary of the ad’s first airing and it was part of a new marketing campaign promoting MK. The city has been earmarked as one of John Prescott’s areas for sustainable growth and with 70,000 new homes planned, the city is set to be the 12th largest urban area in the country – bigger than either Nottingham or Leicester – and surely the leading contender to become Belgium’s public enemy number one.