Inspirational school visits from Lord Mayor and a balloon explorer

Main picture: Lord Mayor of Bristol Cllr Cleo Lake at KnowleDGE with explorer Brian Jones, Aqua Class and Learning Facilitator Laura.

Lord Mayor and Brian talk to pupils at Oasis Academy Connaught.

The Lord Mayor of Bristol Cllr Cleo Lake and world record-breaking balloonist Brian Jones visited two local schools as part of a South Bristol tour.

They dropped in to both Knowle DGE Academy and Oasis Academy Connaught to give inspirational talks about their careers.

Brian, who used to live in the area, was able to share his experiences of travelling the world by balloon in 21 days and the Lord Mayor took questions about her role and responsibilities.

At Knowle DGE, the school was in the middle of a careers focus and Aqua Class had also welcomed in engineers to make bridges with the pupils.

And at Oasis Connaught the pair also presented certificates to children who have made outstanding progress in reading through the Reading Recovery programme.

Lord Mayor with Jayden at Oasis Connaught with his reading certificate.

Brian Jones, shared his story of flying a hot air balloon around the world with co-pilot, Bertrand Piccard which began on 1 March 1999 in Switzerland and took them three weeks to complete, landing in the Egyptian desert miles from civilisation.

He described how he came close to death three times – when the pilots were breathing in poisonous fumes from the balloon. They also had to climb on top of the balloon to make urgent repairs caused by icicles and when they flew through a thunderstorm.

Cllr Lake said: “…It was important to me to share the visit with a local legend and I was particularly proud to bring world record breaking balloonist from Knowle West, Brian Jones, along with me as part of my tour of South Bristol Schools. I know so many would have gone home inspired.”

Mrs George Fraser, Principal of Oasis Academy Connaught, said: “…Our students were thoroughly engaged by both Brian Jones’ and the Lord Mayor’s talk. It was a great opportunity for our children to find out what the Lord Mayor does for the city of Bristol and to listen to Brian, who grew up in their local community and achieved great things.”