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Frank Barnes - The Future's Bright!!

Updated: Feb 10, 2023

Sally Adams, Oak Lodge's amazing, energetic and inspirational teacher who works every single day to arrange day-trips, residential breaks and experiences for all the pupils at both schools, has been put in charge of a £150,000 legacy from The Frank Barnes Educational Trust. This money will be used for years to come to ensure that the joy Sally (pictured with Frank and George Adamson above) has injected into the children's lives will continue, and she is busy hatching some amazing trips!

Frank Barnes was a friend of Sally's and in her own words (below) she describes what an amazing man he was.

Frank was either flying a little plane, a hot air balloon or climbing a mountain.  He had the kindest heart. He loved cats and kept 19 stray, ill and scraggy ‘rescued’ cats. He was the least 'showy' man on earth. He was probably Britain's best and most experienced balloon pilot but never told anybody this.  He was a mathematician. In fact, he was a ‘prodigy’ in maths. He was a professor of Maths at the University of Nairobi in Kenya.

I bumped into Frank at the flying and mountaineering clubs based at Wilson Airport, Nairobi the day I arrived in Kenya in 1979 as a teacher of Geography. He asked me if I would like to fly a little plane with him the next day to the middle of the Kora Game reserve to meet George Adamson (from the film Born Free) and his lions. I did go and that was the start of a friendship that lasted many, many years flying little planes, hot air balloons or climbing mountains in many ‘obscure’ places in the world with Frank!  

Frank was a natural and brilliant pilot. He really didn’t care about possessions or appearances. He had a heart of gold, a wonderful sense of humour......and just loved being in the sky. 

I remember on many occasions at 4am heaving gas cylinders into bath tubs in precarious ‘guest houses’ round the world to prepare our ‘fuel’ for very early morning flights! Frank was test flying his one man balloon he had brought back from Kenya when he was 47 years old.The cable of his balloon was faulty and snapped. He hit an electricity pylon and was tragically killed.

Frank’s money went to The Frank Barnes Educational Trust. Frank ‘lived’ for adventure and would love to know that his money is helping others to live ‘like Frank!’



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