Up up and away - nearly

MARION Roberts has been looking forward to her 50th birthday present for more than a year - but so far it's turned out to be a load of hot air.Eighteen months ago her daughter, Helen, surprised her with the gift-of-a-lifetime, a hot-air balloon trip, and she felt like she was walking in the clouds.

MARION Roberts has been looking forward to her 50th birthday present for more than a year - but so far it's turned out to be a load of hot air.

Eighteen months ago her daughter, Helen, surprised her with the gift-of-a-lifetime, a hot-air balloon trip, and she felt like she was walking in the clouds.

But since then she has come crashing back to earth with a bang because each of the eight times she has arranged the trip it has been cancelled because of bad weather.

Mrs Roberts, who has now turned 51, said: “I was so excited to get the present. I'm desperate for it now.

“Every time I see a balloon in the sky I feel bad and wonder why it isn't me up there.

“I've certainly never had to wait so long for a birthday present before.”

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Mrs Roberts, of Great Harlings, Shotley Gate, said she had arranged for a flight with Virgin Balloons Flights on eight separate occasions but every time she had been told it was unsafe to go up because of visibility or wind speed.

She added: “Of course I'd rather put my safety first and not go up but I have looked at the weather conditions the nights before on the internet and it always looks fine to me.

“I suffer from vertigo but I think it would be a different sensation when I got up there and might help me get over my vertigo.

“The package says 'live the dream' and that is exactly what I have been doing as so far it has only been a dream.

“But I've not given up; I don't want a refund I want to go up in the sky.”

And she has her fingers firmly crossed that the next flight she has booked for Wednesday will finally take off.

A spokesperson for Virgin Balloon Flights said: “We're very sorry that Mrs Roberts has been so unlucky thus far, as this number of cancellations due to the weather is very unusual.

“We hope her flight, booked to take place from Stowmarket next week goes ahead and that she has a wonderful time.”

Have you been waiting for a birthday present for even longer than Mrs Roberts? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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