Meet the Team

Dave Davies

In loving memory of Dave Davies, beloved partner, father and best friend to many. Dave believed passionately about bringing the incredible tale of James Sadler to the public eye. In so many ways Dave had a bit of Sadler in him; he was entrepreneurial, full of enthusiasm and always championing the underdog. It was Dave’s biggest dream to make the James Sadler Balloon Experience a reality, in loving memory we strive to make it happen for Dave and all of those that believe dreams can come true.

Dave Dunphy

Dave Dunphy was born in Wallingford, and lived in Oxfordshire all his life. He has worked in the home improvement, and construction since leaving St Birinus school in Didcot. Owning and running renewable, and sustainable energy company, training others in sector as a consultant. Currently owns and runs property development company. Along with his co-director Dave Davies founded the James Sadler Oxford balloon experience, after becoming aware that Sadler was Englands first aeronaut. Although born and educated in Oxfordshire, Dave had never been informed of Sadler’s achievements. The more Dave found out about Sadler the more his desire to bring him back to the prominence and Oxford is the only legitimate place this can happen in the UK.

Rebecca Mileham
Museum Consultant

With over fifteen years’ experience in the museums sector, and a background in physics, Rebecca specialises in developing exhibition concepts and interpretation. She spent ten years at the Science Museum in London, firstly as an Explainer in the hands-on galleries and then in exhibition development. Now Rebecca has a wide portfolio of museum interpretation and writing projects, working on award-winning touring exhibitions (1001 Inventions, about the scientific heritage of Muslim civilisation; Universe of Sound, created by the Philharmonia Orchestra) and with many UK museums. Rebecca also delivers popular training courses in text-writing and interpretation, and is a science journalist and author.

Richard O. Smith
Author • Screenwriter

Richard is an author, screenwriter and an Oxford Times columnist who has lived in Oxford for over twenty years. He has written regularly for BBC2’s Dara O’Briain’s Science Club, BBC Radio 4’s The Now Show and The News Quiz, and was the principal screenwriter for Rupert Grint and Rob Brydon’s latest movie The Unbeatables. His books include Oxford Student Pranks (“A jam-packed jamboree of jollity” – Dr Lucy Worsley), Britain’s Most Eccentric Sports and last year’s Amazon no. 1 bestseller in humour As Thick As Thieves. His book The Man with His Head in the Clouds is the first biography of the first Englishman to fly – Oxford’s own James Sadler.

Mark J. Davies
Local Historian

Mark is an Oxford local historian and guide, with a special interest in the history and literature of the non-University aspects of the city. He has written and published several local interest books with a focus on the city’s waterways, its castle, and the influence of the River Thames on Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice’. His biography of James Sadler – “King of all Balloons”: the Adventurous Life of James Sadler, First English Aeronaut – was published in November 2015. Fully illustrated, the book is also a tribute to Sadler’s tragically short-lived balloonist son, Windham, who himself made more than thirty ascents, including in Ireland and Scotland.

Jane Brown
Jane Browne, Writer, Researcher

Jane is the pen name of Marianne Richards, a writer/ researcher with a penchant for James Sadler and the fascinating innovators of the 18th century. Born in the industrial Midlands, her interest in science began during an early career among Engineers, as tank blue print clerk, engineer’s storekeeper and trade tools buyer. Whilst living in Oxford she came across the Sadler plaque, being inspired by the words ‘fire balloon’ to research James Sadler. Over a decade later she presented “The Oxford Aeronaut”, a ripping yarn based on the Sadlers and their contemporaries, now extended to two parts. A screenplay “King of Ballooning” in the guise of Dan Vichente, is in 12th edit.

James Ferguson
Publisher • Writer

James is a publisher and writer who has lived in Oxford for forty years. He has published several books on Oxford, including The Man with His Head in the Clouds.

Andrew Love
Brochure & Logo Design

Andrew is a designer based in Oxford with more than twenty years commercial experience. His background is predominately marketing and identity.