Tuesday, 17 January 2012

The Brilliant Janet Folkes

Dr Janet Folkes died today after a long battle with cancer.

Janet was an engineering lecturer at the University of Nottingham

Her successful career included work with lasers and a high-powered waterjet.

I first met met Janet through this scientific work, but spent far more time with her making films about hot air balloons.

Flying was Janet's great passion - especially in balloons - and she still holds numerous world records in them.

I was lucky enough to share just a few fragments of these adventures (usually from the ground)... and spent many hours hearing tales about the other ones.

Some films about Janet's adventures can be found below.

Janet was a brilliant woman - generous, genuine and brilliantly understated.

My wife and I joined her in Switzerland for a remarkable ballooning festival and the maiden flight of the University of Nottingham hot air balloon.

The trip remains one of our fondest memories.

Janet also "donated" numerous flights for charity, including one with my brother-in-law which we followed as ground crew.

It was another great day made possible by Janet.

I imagine there are hundreds of other people whose "brilliant days" had Janet working the burner!

It's sad that she's gone, but we've been left with many great memories. It's just a bit hard to smile about them today.


  1. A lovely selection of memories of a very special person

  2. I knew her name before meeting her.....
    Though we did not work in the same group, I remember she told me her experience in Japan (also a place I like)!

    For some reasons, I have different memories of her but now she leaves me only beautiful memories.......

    She told me she had the Japanese biscuits I bought for her breakfast!
    She told me how she developed her research interests!
    She told me why she needed to live with her mom!
    She showed me how elegant she was in the banquet!
    She showed me how friendly she was with her colleagues and students!

    She is elegant, brave and adventurous. I believe we will remember her nice moments at UoN.

  3. Generous, genuine and brilliantly understated described her very well.

    I was lucky to have the opportunity crewing & flying with her on a couple of occasions and I still remember her story on why she chose ballooning. She was one of the lucky ones to find her passion (majority of people do not know what their true passion is) & along the way broke world records! I'm sure she's resting in peace knowing she has touched many hearts and she's a true inspiration!

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  5. Thank you Brady. Janet was a great friend and will be missed immensely.

  6. Indeed a great Web page to remember our dearest Janet by. Janet was a kind, thoughtful, considerate and experienced balloonist and friend. Janet has touched many many people and made the world a better place. She certainly helped me and many other students at Loughborough Uni achieve pilot status.

  7. May Janet fly so high and so well and join God in her laughter... rest in peace Janet.

  8. We will truly miss her. She contributed so much to all those around her. I began my career because of her. Be Blessed Janet....

  9. She was my personal tutor during MSc. studies, as well as supervisor one of my projects. I will remember her as a very helpful, approachable person with exceptional passion for everything she was doing. Thank You Janet and rest in peace. Now you will be flying higher than ever before.

  10. Thank you for posting this great collection Brady. I finally learned of Janet's passing today, almost exactly 2 years ago. I knew she was sick and feared she'd gone. It's great to see all these memories. I knew her 1986-88 primarily, where we started the Loughborough University hot air balloon club with intrepid colleagues. She was just as "generous, genuine and brilliantly understated" back then - perfect description. I am so glad to have met her and shared that time. What an exceptional human being!

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