Sky’s the limit as bal­loon race con­tes­tants com­pete for £100

Macclesfield Express - - EAST CHESHIRE HOSPICE -

THE sky’s the limit for one lucky win­ner with a £100 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 350 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.

The top prize of £100 worth of fam­ily vouchers will go to the per­son with the bal­loon which trav­els the fur­thest when the race fin­ishes on the af­ter­noon of April 3. The prize bun­dle in­cludes a Tat­ton Park voucher, a £50 Next voucher, a fam­ily por­trait and more.

There’s also a £50 Next voucher await­ing the sec­ond prize win­ner and a free fam­ily skate at Mac Multi Ac­tiv­ity Cen­tre for the bal­loon com­ing in third.

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, while thin­ner bal­loons may fly higher but may be sub­ject to wind con­di­tions.

The bal­loon ‘launch’ takes place next Mon­day, March 27, 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.

“The idea of a ‘vir­tual’ bal­loon race seems to have caught every­one’s at­ten­tion and we’ve had a fan­tas­tic re­sponse,” said com­mu­nity fundraiser, Lisa Ball.

“Maybe it’s be­cause this race is so ecofriendly. Tra­di­tional bal­loon races can lit­ter the coun­try­side and leave de­bris in the sea which can cause prob­lems to an­i­mals and birds.”

The race is be­ing spon­sored by MAC Multi-Ac­tiv­ity Cen­tre.

There’s more in­for­ma­tion about the race on the hospice web­site and you can buy your bal­loons at www. rabr.co/ech.

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