A WOMAN who left her city job 12 years ago to become a balloon artist, is heading to the USA to compete for Great Britain.

Lucy Hennessy is hoping to win big in America as part of a UK group who will be inflating more than 30,000 balloons to form a giant sculpture.

Mrs Hennessy, 37, of Madeira Avenue, Leigh, decided she had had enough of being an administrator in the city while on maternity leave.

She explained balloon art was something she had wanted to do for years. She said: “When I was in college, I used to have a Saturday job as a waitress. I used to see balloon sculptures and thought it was something I could have done.”

Having taught the art all over the UK, and taken part in competitions, she is now preparing to compete in the World Balloon Convention in Denver, Colorado, later this month.

She will be competing individually in four categories at the event, as well as being part of a team with 18 other UK teammates to make a giant sculpture.

She said: “I’m up against the best in the world. There’s a lot of tough competition there. I’m going for the experience and to enjoy it.

“I knowwhat we’re going to be making, but I’m not allowed to say, unfortunately it’s confidential until we do it.

“In normal competitions they start at nine in the morning and finish at five, and you go back the next day, with it being America its 27 hours straight and it’s going to be quite tiring, but it is going to be amazing.”

She also runs the Balloon Power company from her home in Leigh.