ATTEMPTS to recreate a historic hot air balloon launch in Malmesbury in front of hundreds of visitors fell short over the weekend as weather conditions forced organisers to abandon the spectacle.

Organisers were hoping to recreate the original eclipse balloon launch from Cross Hayes in 1881 but poor wind conditions meant that hundreds of people were left feeling a little deflated in the centre of town on Sunday evening after the bright blue canopy of the balloon failed to inflate.

The ambitious plans, which would have seen explorer David Hempleman-Adams and Conservative parliamentary candidate James Gray rising into the sky as a tribute to the original pilot MP Walter Powell, proved to be a success on the fundraising front however after thousands of pounds was raised for the renovation of the town's Moravian Church.

Angela Sykes, one of the event organisers, said: “Every penny raised at this fantastic event will go towards the restoration of the Moravian Church. What has been an eyesore in the town for two decades will soon become a great space for the community and the expanding work of the museum. It will be something we can all be really proud of."

The town took a trip back to the 19th century for the event and although Sir Hempleman-Adams expressed his disappointment about the launch, he praised the people of Malmesbury for their spirit on the day.

"It was so close but it is better to be on the ground wishing you were up in the air than in the air wishing you were on the ground," he said. "It was very tempting and if we were not restricted by health and safety and we were in the middle of a field we would have gone up no problem.

"Although we were trying to recreate the history behind the event, it was a really a fundraising event and they raised a lot of money and the people of Malmesbury were really good - what a fantastic little town - and they really got behind it."

The organisers behind the event have confirmed that the balloon will not be launched on June 4 as the date was only reserved in the event of rain.