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Photographer's Note

"Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth and danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings…"

This is an extract from a poem, "High Flight" written by Spitfire pilot John Gillespie Magee Jnr (1922-1941) during the Second World War and sent to his parents. The letter arrived days after he was killed in action.

Maybe I am being somewhat self-indulgent today but the hot-air balloon pictured here is very dear to me. At almost 20 years old, she must be one of the oldest operating balloons in the world today. I went solo in her many years ago and flew numerous competitions with (as opposed to "in") her.

This is one of the very few photographs I have taken of her because I am usually in the basket.

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