Vir­tual bal­loon con­test takes flight

Macclesfield Express - - EAST CHESHIRE HOSPICE -

WHEN is a bal­loon not a bal­loon?

The fundrais­ing team at East Cheshire Hospice have come up with an an­swer to that ques­tion which they hope will raise thou­sands of pounds for the hospice pa­tients and car­ers.

In this 21st cen­tury race, the bal­loons ex­ist only in cyber-space – within a soft­ware pro­gramme that uses real weather data and Google maps for real-time flight path track­ing, test­ing the bal­loon cal­cu­la­tions to see which flies the fur­thest.

“Where the bal­loon flies to will de­pend on the real weather con­di­tions dur­ing that race week and who­ever has the bal­loon that flies the fur­thest from the hospice wins a prize – all cal­cu­lated by the com­puter,” said Leah Good­hind, com­mu­nity fundraiser.

Bal­loons are avail­able to buy on­line for just £3 and can be per­son­alised by choos­ing the size, shape and even the thick­ness of the rub­ber and it’s th­ese choices which will in­form the com­puter cal­cu­la­tions – big­ger bal­loons may fly fur­ther but could ex­plode while thin­ner bal­loons may fly higher but may be sub­ject to wind con­di­tions. This vir­tual rac­ing is a new phe­nom­e­non and bal­loons have been launched all over the world with track­ing by some 8,000 weather sta­tions.

“We thought it was a quirky, unique and en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly way to raise much-needed funds for the hospice,” said Leah.

The three bal­loons to fly fur­thest will win prizes, with the owner of the win­ning bal­loon re­ceiv­ing £100 worth of fam­ily friendly vouch­ers.

To find out more, visit www.rabr.co/ech or call 01625 433477.

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