Spalding’s version of Compo (Percy, 90) takes to the skies

Mary Bentley, John Bishop and Percy Allmand after their hot air balloon adventure. Photo (NIKKI GRIFFIN: SG120912-349NG
Mary Bentley, John Bishop and Percy Allmand after their hot air balloon adventure. Photo (NIKKI GRIFFIN: SG120912-349NG
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A FLIGHT of fancy for a 90-year-old Spalding man became reality when he achieved his dream of flying in a hot air balloon.

Percy Allmand was the oldest passenger ever taken up by the pilot in a dawn trip over Grantham – and now a fellow resident at Georgian Court, Charles Smith (96), is keen to follow suit.

Charles Smith, Bob Silver and Percy Allmand.

Charles Smith, Bob Silver and Percy Allmand.

Pals Percy, Charles and Bob Silver, who is in his 80s, are known at their old folk’s complex as Last of the Summer Wine trio Compo, Clegg and Foggy.

Percy said: “We go about together. We have a good laugh and a joke.

“I don’t know where the Compo, Clegg and Foggy came from. We have been called that several times. They call me ‘Compo’ – I don’t know why.”

The trip was organised by Georgian Court house manager Mary Bentley and Mary and Percy’s friend John Bishop also went up in the balloon.

The trio left Spalding at 4.45am to get to Belton Woods, where the balloon set off at about 6.50am.

John (62) said: “We saw the sun rise over The Wash and saw over Grantham on the other side of the balloon.

“We flew at 3,000ft. It was beautiful.”

He took a picture of Percy during the flight and said: “As can be seen by Percy’s face, he was truly mesmerised.”

The long-awaited trip had been on the cards for about 18 months, but was cancelled a few times because the weather wasn’t right.

Mary said they only flew to Ropsley on the day because there wasn’t enough wind, but still describes the trip as “amazing and fabulous”.

She is already planning a second balloon flight with Virgin next spring and residents of both Georgian Court complexes are eager to go.

Percy said: “I would definitely go again. It was very good. We enjoyed it very much.”

The retired lorry driver, who was born at Pode Hole, is said to have a list of adventurous things to do – a bucket list – but Percy says he’s had many adventures in his life.

“There’s nothing else I want to do,” he said. “I have had a fair life. I have done most things.”