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