Swindon & Wiltshire Business News

Customers grounded as Go Ballooning goes pop

Pewsey-based hot air balloon operator Cameron Flights (Southern) Ltd has gone into administration, leaving hundreds of pre-paid customers grounded, and around 30 people out of a job.

The company traded from Woodborough under the name Go Ballooning. It has previously traded as Horizon Ballooning and High Adventure Balloons.

Its website was taken down last week, and was today today replaced by a message which reads: “The Company is deeply saddened to advise that after successfully trading for over 25 years and flying many tens of thousands of customers we have had to take the very difficult decision to cease trading.

“The company has been and will continue to work with the liquidator to attempt to formulate a solution for customers.” It advised customers to log back on from Tuesday, April 9.

In a statement, The British Association of Balloon Operators (BABO), the UK trade body for commercial hot air balloon operators, of which Cameron Flights (Southern) Ltd was not a member, said: “For some considerable time, the BABO committee has been of the opinion that Cameron Flights (Southern) Ltd’s business model was seriously flawed, and drew to the directors’ attention as far back as November 2010 the unacceptably high number of passenger complaints BABO was receiving with regard to their operation.

“Furthermore, since mid-July 2011 BABO have had several conversations and correspondence with Wiltshire Trading Standards regarding concerns over the level of customer complaints pertaining to Cameron Flights (Southern) Ltd. However Wiltshire Trading Standards felt there was no further action required on their behalf.

“We deeply regret the distress and financial penalty suffered by customers, staff and suppliers who may have lost money with Cameron Flights (Southern) Ltd, but can only emphasise that this company was not a member of our association and therefore operated outside of our trade body’s control.

“We would always urge members of the public to ensure that they only book a balloon flight with companies who are members of BABO.”

It is understood that the company had been cancelling booked flights for some time.

As early as June last year customers had set up a Facebook Page called I Didn't Go Ballooning (www.facebook.com/ididntgoballooning).

Customer Simon Walsh wrote: “We were bought tickets for a go ballooning flight at the end of 2011 for my wife 50th birthday present, it was cancelled 5 times last year due to 'the weather'", while Keith Balbi said: “I purchased two tickets from go ballooning two years ago and still have not flown yet coz everytime i try it gets cancelled. I paid 230 pounds and they will only offer me 25 percent refund. Not happy.”

And today angry customers took to Twitter to vent their frustration. Chris Brown write “Flight tomorrow (paid for) no update until the 9th? Hotel paid, what do we do? Been trying to go for 2 years!” while an anonymous balloon pilot wrote: “I was one of there crew until yesterday. There's no hope. Don't expect answers to calls/emails. Lots now out of work,” and “all us who did the flying in a big hole”.

  • Cameron Balloon Flights (Southern) have no connection with Bristol-based balloon manufacturers Cameron Balloons Ltd.

Wiltshire solicitors tackle triathlon in memory of Jemima

Tackling the triathlon: Jess Jeanes, Jenna Humphries, Michael Davies, Christopher Ware and Oliver PriceWiltshire solicitors are tackling a triathlon to raise money in memory of Jemima Prees, the daughter of a colleague who died in a skiing accident earlier this year.

Ten-year-old Jemima, an experienced skier, died after colliding with a tree while on a family skiing holiday in the Austrian Tyrol in February. 

Her parents Tim – a solicitor working from the Devizes office of Wansbroughs – and Karen launched an appeal, Jemima's Gift, to celebrate her life.

All money raised will go to provide opportunities for other children to reach their full potential in sports, the arts, and in learning activities.

Jemima PreesAnd on Friday, May 17 two teams from Wansbroughs will be taking part in the Jones Lang LaSalle Property Triathlon at Eton Dorney to raise money for the appeal.

The competitors must swim 750m, cycle 20km and run 5km in a relay.

Oliver price, a partner at the law firm, said: “With your support, Jemima’s Gift will be able to help others live life as Jemima did and every penny you give will go to helping children like Jemima.”

Anyone who wishes to support their fundraising effort can email Oliver at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 01380 733 300.

Bank of England gets snapshot of Chippenham economy

A snapshot of the state of the Chippenham economy was given by business leaders to the Bank of England earlier this month, when thirteen business owners and managers from the Chamber of Commerce met with Geoff Harding, the Bank of England´s Deputy Agent for South West England, at the new headquarters of MJ Church plant hire.

This was one of a regular series of meetings between the Bank and Wiltshire businesses: Wessex Chamber has organised eight in the county over the past 12 months.

Businesses were able to give their feedback on local economic decisions, and how bank policy is affecting trade. These views are then fed back to the Bank of England's economic policy unit.

Free seminar on writing for the web

Writing for the Web is the subject of a free seminar from Salisbury-based Cravenplan, which will be held on Wednesday, April 17 at 11am.

The seminar is aimed at anyone involved in writing content for websites.

The topics covered include:

  • Planning
  • Writing styles
  • Grabbing attention
  • Calls to action
  • Updating an existing web site

For more information, or to book a place, log on to or call 01747 858000.

Wiltshire Business Expo details confirmed

This year's Wiltshire Business Expo will be held at Trowbridge Civic Centre on Thursday, June 20, organisers have confirmed.

The event, which is organised by Wiltshire Council, Wiltshire Business Support Service and Swindon & Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership promises attendees inspiriong workshops and seminars along with motivational keynote speakers.

There are also opportunities for companies to showcase their wares with an exhibition stand. Booking details are available from Matthew Croston at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The event will run from 8.30am to 5.30pm, and will be free to attend.

Business leaders caught lying down on the job

Wessex Chambers members at AirsprungWiltshire bosses were caught lying down on the job recently – and who can blame them?

The Wessex Chamber members were on a site visit to Airsprung beds in Trowbridge - one of the largest bed manufacturers in the UK - where 2,500 mattresses are produced every day.

Chamber members were able to see all aspects of the business, from the bed manufacturing to the dispatch.

The next Wessex Chamber site visit will leave members puzzled – they´re off to Wentworth Wooden Puzzles, near Malmesbury, on Thursday, May 9.

For booking details log on to www.wessexchambers.org.uk/events

Ladies told how to Stay Ahead of Trend

How to Stay Ahead of the Trend is the topic of the next Wessex Business Women’s networking lunch.

The guest speaker will be Chris Simpson, senior business manager at Wiltshire Business Support Service, who will be sharing 10 ways to ‘feed your business mind’ and keep ahead of the latest insight and information.

The event will be held on Thursday, April 18 from 12.15pm at Guyers House Hotel, Pickwick, Corsham.

Attendance costs £18 for Wessex Chamber members, and £20 for non-members.

For booking details log on to www.wessexchambers.org.uk/events