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Mini hot air balloon to fly the flag for Bristol in Lord Mayor's Show

The mini hot air balloon

Press release issued: 7 November 2018

A mini hot air balloon, measuring just 1.8m tall, will bring a flavour of Bristol to the historic Lord Mayor's Show in London this weekend.

The specially-designed, eye-catching helium creation will form part of the University of Bristol's float at the spectacle of pageantry and pomp on Saturday (10 November).

It's one of the first times a university outside the capital has taken part in the 803-year-old civic procession, in honour of incoming Lord Mayor Peter Estlin being a Bristol alumnus.

Students from the University's cheerleading society, Bristol Jets, and sabbatical officers from Bristol SU will be joined by a balloon master as they escort the balloon through the City of London.

Symbolising Bristol's long ballooning history, the graphic on the balloon features the world-famous Clifton Suspension Bridge along with six other city landmarks.

The balloon, which will be reused at University open days in the future, was made using a total of 22m of fabric. When filled with helium, the balloon has an active volume capable of lifting 1,280 tea bags or 80,000 water droplets which is equal to approximately four kilograms.

The University's float will join military bands, vintage buses, Dhol drummers, a combine harvester and a giant nodding dog for the three-mile-long procession

Dubbed the noisiest, largest and most colourful event in the City of London's calendar, the Lord Mayor's Show brings together over 7,000 people, 200 horses and 140 motor and steam-driven vehicles in a major spectacle that dates back to the 13th century.

Peter Estlin, who will take office as the 691st Lord Mayor of the City of London on 9 November, will ride in the procession in the gold State Coach.

The annual event, which celebrates the City's ancient past and modern outlook, enables the Lord Mayor to 'show' himself or herself to the people of the City of London, as well as to swear an oath of allegiance to the sovereign.

Peter studied Economics and Accounting at the University of Bristol, graduating in 1982 before embarking on a 30-year career in finance.  He was elected an Alderman of the City of London in 2013 and was elected Sheriff for the City of London for the year 2016/17.

Professor Hugh Brady, Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Bristol, said: "We're honoured to have been invited to participate in the Lord Mayor's Show and cannot wait to play our part in one of the nation's most spectacular events.

"With the incoming Lord Mayor’s links with Bristol, what better way to catch people’s attention and celebrate our wonderful city than by creating a special hot air balloon which will be viewed by millions of people around the globe.

"As an alumnus of the University, we're extremely proud of Peter's achievements, not just in his career but as an advocate for education at all levels. He’s a great ambassador for both the University and the UK. We wish him well for his tenure as Lord Mayor of London."

During his Mayoral year, Alderman Estlin will also look to promote his Shaping Tomorrow's City Today agenda which will build on the current Lord Mayor's theme of 'the business of trust' and focus on promoting innovation and championing digital skills across the UK.

Cheered on by tens of thousands of people lining the streets and millions watching the live BBC coverage and online streaming of the event, the procession will leave The Mansion House, the Lord Mayor's official residence, at 11am.

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