Biggar hot air balloon festival grounded

THE Biggar Bike and Balloon Festival, due to be held between July 28 and 30, has been cancelled.

Organiser Graeme Houston made the decision after a public hearing was called by South Lanarkshire Council for July 7.

That would have left Graeme with less than three weeks to organise the event if it was given the go ahead.

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Graeme said: "I was ill for two months which made it very difficult for me.

"During that time the council sent me paperwork back and I was going to have to pay 2,000.

"Having recovered from my illness I was then told there were objections to the festival and that a public hearing would be held on July 7.

"Even if we had been successful it would have given me three weeks to get everything organised."

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However, all is not lost for the 44-year-old, who has flown hot air balloons for the past 23 years.

Thanks to his balloon and biker friends, a three day private charity event will be held over the same weekend to raise money for Erskine Hospital.

The event, which will now be held at Coulter, near the village hall, will be by invitation only with 250 lucky people on hand to see the best that ballooning and biking has to offer.

For more on this story, pick up a copy of this week's Carluke and Lanark Gazette which is in the shops now.