Bal­loon race is vir­tu­ally ready to go

Macclesfield Express - - EAST CHESHIRE HOSPICE -

THE sky’s the limit for one lucky East Cheshire school this sum­mer with a £500 cash prize up for grabs from a very 21st cen­tury race.

The Vir­tual Bal­loon Race, be­ing or­gan­ised by the fundrais­ing team at East Cheshire Hospice, is a modern twist on a tra­di­tional bal­loon race and is at­tract­ing lots of in­ter­est with more than 300 bal­loons about to be launched next week.

How­ever, these bal­loons will ex­ist only on­line 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.

“We’ve had a fan­tas­tic re­sponse to the race – ev­ery­body has said how different it is and how great it is that the whole fam­ily can get in­volved,” said com­mu­nity fundraiser Leah Good­hind.

“You can com­pletely de­sign your bal­loon from the thick­ness of the rub­ber to the amount of he­lium and then the shape, colour, size.”

The race is open to both in­di­vid­u­als and schools and signed up so far to take part are Ash Grove, Tyther­ing­ton and Gawsworth pri­mary schools and The Kings School.

In­di­vid­u­als are be­ing asked to nom­i­nate a school and the £500 cash prize is be­ing do­nated by MAC Multi-Ac­tiv­ity Cen­tre who nom­i­nated the hospice as their charity of the year when they opened 10 months ago.

“We’ve or­gan­ised sev­eral fundrais­ing events for the hospice in­clud­ing some themed skate ses­sions,” said MAC Ac­tiv­ity founder and man­ager, Andy Brooks.

“I’m a big sup­porter of the hospice – it’s a great lo­cal cause which is close to many hearts.” There are fur­ther prizes avail­able for in­di­vid­u­als in­clud­ing £100 worth of fam­ily vouch­ers as the first prize.

Bal­loons are still avail­able to buy on­line for just £3 and it’s the per­son­alised choices which will in­form the com­puter cal­cu­la­tions.

Big­ger bal­loons may fly fur­ther but could ex­plode whilst thin­ner bal­loons may fly higher but may be sub­ject to wind con­di­tions.

The bal­loon ‘launch’ takes place next Mon­day, July 4 at 3pm, with a com­puter cal­cu­lat­ing the win­ning bal­loons that fly the fur­thest de­pend­ing on track­ing in­for­ma­tion from 8,000 weather sta­tions around the world.

“We’re very ex­cited about the race and hope it is some­thing we can run each year and get more and more schools in­volved,” said Leah Good­hind.

There’s still some time left to buy your vir­tual bal­loon.

To find out more please visit or call 01625 433477.

●● Mem­bers of the East Cheshire Hospice fundrais­ing team pre­par­ing for their first-ever Vir­tual Bal­loon Race – (from left) Leah Good­hind and Lisa Ball

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