Hot air balloon pilot from Ely becomes two-time Guinness World Records holder by crossing the English Channel with 81 others

Ely man Simon Smeeton became a two-time Guinness World Records holder by joining 81 others who flew

Ely man Simon Smeeton became a two-time Guinness World Records holder by joining 81 others who flew across the English Channel on Friday. - Credit: Archant

A hot air balloon pilot from Ely became a two-time Guinness World Records holder by joining 81 others who flew across the English Channel on Friday.

Summer 2015 when Simon broke another world record of most hot air balloons taking off together in Fr

Summer 2015 when Simon broke another world record of most hot air balloons taking off together in France. - Credit: Archant

Simon Smeeton has been flying hot air balloons professionally for the last 20 years and has lived in Ely with his wife, Mhairi, for 15 years.

He completed the Cross Channel flight on Friday with 81 other balloons to get in the Guinness World records.

The record-breaking group set off from just outside Dover and landed right beside the Euro Tunnel less than three hours later. The group’s effort beat the previous record of 49 balloons.

Simon became a world record holder in the summer of 2015 in France when he broke the world record for the most hot air ballons taking off together at one time.

Simon Smeeton's balloon in the air over the English Channel. PHOTO: Karen Sharpe

Simon Smeeton's balloon in the air over the English Channel. PHOTO: Karen Sharpe - Credit: Archant


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Simon’s wife, Mhairi Smeeton, said: “I guess there aren’t that many people who are married to a world record holder, and I’m very proud of him.

“The last time it happened was in 2011. This time round, Simon put his name in the ballot and he was successful.

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“I trained at the same time but had a baby so that stopped me in my tracks.

The event’s organisers are currently liaising with Guinness to ensure their record-breaking achievement stands.

A hot air balloon pilot from Ely is one of 85 world record holders having crossed the English Channe

A hot air balloon pilot from Ely is one of 85 world record holders having crossed the English Channel. - Credit: Archant

Guinness World Records had previously said organisers did not make a “formal application” before setting off on their trip.

It is expected they will make a retrospective application.

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