A COMMUNITY has rallied to raise a staggering amount in memory of a hot air balloon pilot who died last month.

Peter Gregory died when his hot air balloon crashed into a tree in Ombersley last month, and now more than £17,000 has been raised to get future generations into the sport. 

The 25-year-old, from the Cotswolds, first flew a hot air balloon at the age of three, and after getting his licence at 17, he became an award-winning pilot.

Mr Gregory flew around the world for fun, competitively and commercially and in 2022 came 18th in the World Hot Air Balloon Championships.

The money raised since his death is hoped to provide equipment, training and exam help to future generations.

Brother Daniel Gregory, who set up the Just Giving page, said he hopes the money raised will allow more people to follow their dreams.

"Peter was passionate about aviation, and this included teaching and inspiring the next generation," he said.

"He was already undergoing training to become an instructor and had conducted many training flights with new pilots.

"Peter had a heart of gold and always a “help-out” attitude to give back to those around, which we want to continue in his legacy.

"This collection will be used to support, help and encourage people to follow their dreams in aviation by providing equipment, training and exam help.

"As a family, we will donate the registration, G-REGS, which can be used on a balloon to be shared with the training community.

"Thank you for your donations, and we look forward to helping train new pilots."

The link to the Just Giving page can be found here.

A spokesperson for Worcester Balloon Festival added: "Many of you may have heard about the devastating accident on Sunday, June 25.

"Peter's family and friends are creating a lasting legacy in his name and taking his passion for flying to the next generation of pilots.

"We hope many of you can support this incredible cause."

Police were called after a hot air balloon fell to the ground in a field off Holt Fleet Road, near the A449.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch has launched an investigation following the incident.

A spokesperson said: "Our team are continuing to make enquiries, interview witnesses and gather evidence to help establish the cause of the crash.

"The balloon has been recovered and transported to the AAIB headquarters for further examination.