Award winning balloonist comes to Buckingham

Balloonist Mike Hurst
Balloonist Mike Hurst

An internationally renowned balloon artist from Brackley is bringing his expertise to Buckingham in July.

An internationally renowned balloon artist from Brackley is bringing his expertise to Buckingham in July.

Mike Hurst, 37, is moving his business, Reds Balloons and Parties, to larger premises in Tingewick as he has outgrown his current studio in Draymans Walk.

“It's perfect for us. It's three times larger than the old premises and it means we can tap into Buckingham,” Mike said.

Mike got into balloon artistry in 2013 while supporting his wife's work as a face painter and ended up taking courses and running a ballooning business out of his parents' garage.

Since then he's not looked back. As well as opening his first store in January 2014, he has travelled the world competing in tournaments.

In 2018 he competed at the World Balloon Convention in San Diego, America, and won a bronze award in the Balloon Column Sculpture section.

Mike has also added a teaching string to his bow, giving tutorials as far afield as Israel, as well as all over the UK. He currently does three or four sessions a year wherever the demand exists but this is an area of his business he's looking to grow with the extra space his move to Buckingham will afford.

The balloon artist was also clearly passionate about the environmental and ecological responsibililities of his industry and frustrated by those who give it a bad name.

Regarding concerns surrounding helium wastage, Mike said:

“We're not taking anything away from the medical industry. What we use is a byproduct of the liquid helium – if anything we're putting money into the NHS.”

Moving on to another problematic area for the balloon business, untethered balloon releases, Mike said:

“We banned balloon releases a couple of years ago. It can be a hard conversation when someone wants to commemorate a lost loved one with a release but we flat out refuse it now.”

He added that he is a member of the group PBUK that campaigns to get all balloon sellers and artists on board with the environmentally friendly approach.

Mike said: “We can help people along the way by suggesting alternatives. One alternative is filling balloons with wildflower seeds. You pop the balloon on site and the seeds disperse giving a nice flower garden.”

Mike says that the new shop will be more of a studio and a showroom and encourages people to call ahead before visiting.

Looking ahead to the move, Mike said: “I can't wait to get in there, to meet new people and meet new customers.”

The shop will be opening in Tingewick in Mid-July.