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Last Updated: Friday, 13 August, 2004, 08:43 GMT 09:43 UK
Blind man attempts balloon flight
A partially sighted man is to attempt to fly a hot air balloon across London.

Jamie Weller, from The Park area of Nottingham, began losing his sight 14 years ago while in the Navy and now has only peripheral vision.

He aims to fly the balloon from the south to the north of London, crossing the River Thames on his way.

It is the first in a series of challenges the 34-year-old is to attempt as he prepares to obtain his pilot's licence.

'Use other senses'

Mr Weller, a chartered tax advisor, said: "I used to be an aircraft engineer in the Royal Navy and always wanted to be a pilot.

"A helicopter or plane would be a bit more difficult but a balloon is at my speed. I do have some vision and the speed allows me to pilot relatively safely.

"I use my other senses to feel how the balloon is moving."

The former member of the 899 Naval Air Squadron left the Royal Navy when he started to lose his central sight, due to a medical condition. He is now registered blind and only has peripheral vision.

Mr Weller hopes to have undertaken the feat by the end of September and raise 25,000 for the ex-servicemen's charity, St Dunstan's.

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