Lord Mayor's Balloon Regatta 2017: London wakes to stunning sight of hot air balloons soaring over capital

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The skies over east London were studded with colour on Sunday morning as scores of hot air balloons lifted off from London City Airport for an annual regatta.

A fleet of more than 30 colourful hot air balloons took off from the Docklands runway early on Sunday morning as most of the capital was still in bed.

The spectacular sight was organised for the yearly Lord Mayor’s Hot Air Balloon Regatta – the City of London’s official ballooning event – in a bid to raise funds for charity.

Leading the convoy was the Lord Mayor’s Appeal hot air balloon, carrying both the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress as they soared over the Thames.

Three dates in September and October were set aside for the regatta in case of poor weather conditions including today, September 24th and October 1.

The balloons took off from London City Airport at shortly after 7am. (PA)

But fortunately this morning’s sunshine and blue skies meant the fleet were able to take off first time lucky.

Many early risers snapped photos of the stunning balloons as they passed over the City.

A balloon carrying the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress led the parade. (PA)

“Randomly look up into the sky and see a load of hot air balloons, and two managed to land at the park right next to me as well,” said Londoner Jack Lebeau on Twitter. “Amazing.”

People in Hornchurch, Rainham and by the Thames barrier reported seeing the balloons flying above their houses shortly after 7am.

Another social media user said: “Just woke up to noise of hot air balloons going overhead. Quite spectacular.”

The regatta, for charities chosen by the Lord Mayor of London Alderman Dr Andrew Parmley, has raised more than £125,000 in the last two years alone.

“The Lord Mayor’s Balloon Regatta is the very highest of highlights,” the Lord Mayor said, “celebrating the tremendous contribution of business to their communities, 1000 feet above London!”

This year’s chosen charity is the LSO Discovery programme, St Paul’s Music Outreach and Music in Hospitals.

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