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29 October 2014
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October 2003
Janet Folkes - world record breaking balloonist
Janet Folkes and John Holmes
Janet Folkes takes BBC Radio Nottingham's John Holmes up in her balloon.
Janet Folkes works at Nottingham University, in her spare time she breaks ballooning world records - she holds 44 to date!
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My name is Janet Folkes and I live in Bulcote, Nottingham. I'm not married, and have no kids, but maybe one day!

quoteAchieving world records isn't an addiction but I'd like to do some more! quote
Janet Folkes

I've been ballooning since 1984. It all started in the final year of my PhD at University. I decided to do something different – rally car driving or Ballooning. They wouldn’t let me drive the rally car so I went flying instead!

Achieving world records isn't an addiction but I would like to do some more!

I really enjoy my job. I work at the University [Nottingham] with lasers for research into cutting, welding, shape build-up, mainly on metals and a lot of the work is to do with Rolls-Royce Aero engines, and some to do with looking at new ways of repairing components using lasers.

Janet Folkes
Janet before one of her 44 world record attempts.

I enjoy the challenge and the learning – doing things nobody else has done or thought of doing!

I don’t enjoy waiting for components when, for example, a lens breaks in the laser! The supplier is in the UK but they get components from their German sister company who get them from another company.

Nottingham has grown and the city centre has got more lively! There's lots of bars and clubs – a good place to go out. The traffic has got worse and the house prices higher! The people are the same though.

At weekends I go flying or visit friends. My parents go to Southwell for lunch on saturday, next to the market there, so I try to go too. I then take mum out in the afternoon - to give dad a break! On sundays, I catch up with stuff.

I play badminton at Chilwell for a Club there including League matches so that keeps me busy during the week too.

I'm lucky with holidays though the time tends to be ballooning related.

I did go on a mileage ticket to Reunion, which is a volcanic island near Mauritius, last Christmas and New Year which was fantastic and I took paragliding lessons there too!

I enjoy living and working in Nottingham
. I have to say I prefer the Welsh Borders countryside but Nottingham has access to some beautiful places to fly.

My advice for young, ambitious women is just to do things you enjoy doing.

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