Gloucestershire

Peter Powell stunt kite pioneer of the 1970s dies

Peter Powell
Image caption Kite designer Peter Powell said the fun of kite flying is "the freedom on the hills - you can steer it and just land it"

Kite-maker Peter Powell, who developed a steerable kite with dual lines in 1972, has died, his family has said.

Mr Powell, 83, from Cheltenham, won the silver and gold diploma for his kite at the Exhibition of New Inventions and Techniques in Geneva in 1975.

In 1976, the Peter Powell kite was elected toy of the year by the British Association of Toy Retailers.

In a statement, his family said he died on 3 January "after a stroke and a short stay in hospital".

Image copyright Peter Powell
Image caption Peter Powell's five factories made 75,000 kites a week to keep up with demand in the 1970s

In the 1970s millions of Peter Powell kites were sold and flying steerable kites became a worldwide craze.

Mr Powell's son Mark said he was very happy producing about 300 kites a week until he appeared on the BBC television programme Nationwide.

"It went from 300 a week to 25,000, and we opened two factories but that wasn't enough so we opened three more making 75,000 kites a week - it was massive," said Mark Powell.

Film stars including James Stuart and Henry Fonda owned one of the kites.

Other tributes have been posted on social media.

Skip Cole wrote: "I originally owned a Peter Powell kite in the 70s giving me an amazing childhood."

Image copyright Facebook
Image caption Condolences and memories have been posted on the Peter Powell kites Facebook page

Penny Merrie Was Wood said: "Due to him flying kites with lights on from Shurdington playing field, when some of the locals reporting seeing UFO's."

Mohammed Shahir of the One India Kite Team expressed "hearty condolence" to the family calling him "the father of stunt kites and legend in the history of kite flying".

James Linton recalled memories of growing up in New Zealand in the mid '70s as "the envy of my friends as they were a new phenomenon".

While Matthew Wynne said simply: "Every middle aged kiter's first kite. x"

Speaking to the BBC in 2014 Peter Powell said the fun of kite flying is "the freedom on the hills - you can steer it and just land it".

"What it leaves in the sky - it tugs at the heart strings - you'll never forget it."

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