WALK­ING ON AIR

For Lucy Hen­nessy, 38, from Leighon-sea, the sky’s the limit!

Pick Me Up! Special - - Fashion -

When I was a teen, I had a Sat­ur­day job wait­ing on ta­bles for a cater­ing com­pany. I loved it, but not be­cause of the fancy frocks or flow­ers. What I loved were the bal­loons! They al­ways made the re­cep­tion look so beau­ti­ful. I’d love to do some­thing cre­ative

like that, I thought wist­fully. But when I left school, I ended up work­ing at a bank.

It was a great job – but the grey world of fi­nance was about as far as you could get from the colour­ful world of bal­loons.

When I mar­ried Martin in 1999, I knew ex­actly what I wanted at our wed­ding. ‘I want bal­loons ev­ery­where,’ I told the wed­ding plan­ner. Then, in 2001, I fell preg­nant. And, while my tummy in­flated, so did an idea... I had a long com­mute to work, which would make it hard to spend time with our baby when it ar­rived.

‘I’m go­ing to start my own busi­ness,’ I said to Martin one day. ‘With bal­loons.’ ‘That’s a great idea,’ he agreed. So I left my bank job and en­rolled on a bal­loon mod­el­ling course at a lo­cal col­lege.

It was just as much fun as it had looked years be­fore!

Af­ter baby Ge­orge was born, I put my new skills into prac­tice, in­flat­ing the bal­loons with he­lium.

Martin got used to com­ing home to be greeted by a gi­ant bal­loon clown or a wed­ding arch! Soon, my busi­ness was up and run­ning. I did bal­loons for wed­dings, chris­ten­ings, com­pany events – even stag and hen-dos. The work fit­ted around child­care, which was great when Al­ice came along in 2004,

I even made a Vik­ing!

and Elsie in 2009.

I get odd re­quests, like when a cou­ple wanted a 6ft Vik­ing for a house party!

But I make it my busi­ness to rise to every oc­ca­sion!

Then, in 2014, I de­cided to take things one step fur­ther – I’d at­tend the World Bal­loon Con­ven­tion in Colorado, USA, where bal­loon artists like my­self would com­pete for a cov­eted WBC Award.

So I jet­ted off to Colorado, where I faced com­pe­ti­tion from 100 other bal­loon artists. Once I got to the con­ven­tion cen­tre, I set to work on build­ing my de­signs – a Rus­sian doll, an F1 car and a plate of cup­cakes.

And I won four awards, all bronze, which I’m very proud of.

I got to meet other bal­loon artists and we had a

pop-tastic time. I even took part in a chal­lenge with a cou­ple of artists to build a life-size model of three Red Ar­row planes us­ing 25,000 bal­loons.

Back home, I showed off my medals, then got back to work.

This March, I re­turned to the World Bal­loon Con­ven­tion, this time in San Diego.

And I came back with a sil­ver and a bronze medal for cre­at­ing a colour­ful bal­loon scene from the film Find­ing Dory.

My job means I get to play every day!

And I’ll never tire of mak­ing peo­ple’s par­ties go with a bang!

It was my life-long dream

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