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Students reach great heights at golden anniversary event

13 June 2017

Gloucestershire based global engineering company, Renishaw, supported celebrations at National Star College to commemorate the golden anniversary of its opening. The charity launched in 1967 to help realise the aspirations of young people with disabilities and learning difficulties. As part of the festivities on the day, students could take tethered flights in Renishaw's bespoke accessible hot air balloon.

More than 700 students and staff attended the event, which featured live music, fancy dress, birthday cake and a barbecue. The celebration also featured G-RENI, Renishaw's hot air balloon, which provided tethered rides to students throughout the day. G-RENI is distinct as it flies with a bespoke adapted basket to accommodate wheelchair passengers.

“National Star's belief is that with high quality and specialist support, people with disabilities can realise their aspirations,” explained David Ellis, Chief Executive of National Star. “We believe it is about what people can do, not what they can't.

“Many of the students would never have expected to ride in a hot air balloon, and the rides were a highlight of the day for those taking part.”

“National Star provides fantastic opportunities for young people across the UK,” explained Chris Pockett, Head of Communications at Renishaw. “The charity supports and develops young people from across the UK. Renishaw is a proud supporter of the work at National Star and wishes the college a happy birthday.”

National Star College is a further education college for young people with learning difficulties and disabilities. The college is based in Ullenwood, Cheltenham, but has over 1,500 students from across the UK. Renishaw has previously supported National Star and has funded a 3D printer for the college. Students are using the equipment to make a 3D tactile map for National Star student Elliot Roberts, who is visually impaired, so that he can become more independent.

Renishaw's balloon is well known in Gloucestershire for its regular appearances across the skies. The balloon recently participated in a successful world record attempt for the largest number of hot air balloons to cross the English Channel. It can also be seen each year at the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta. G-RENI can be found on twitter at @GRENI_BALLOON.

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