Phyllis Tuckwell will take you up, up and away this Christmas, with its virtual balloon race! Launching on Christmas Day, the virtual balloons will be ‘released’ from Santa’s village in Lapland, and will fly whichever way the cold winds at the North Pole taken them. Design and race your own balloon to be in with a chance to win a special Christmas present if yours flies the furthest!

“Our eco-friendly balloon race is made up entirely of virtual, computer-generated balloons,” says Leanne Magee, Events Fundraiser at Phyllis Tuckwell. “For just £3 you can create your own design and join the race. Once the balloons have been ‘released’, real weather data will be taken into account and a simulated flight pattern will be created for each individual balloon, so you will be able to log in and track your balloon’s progress over the week. We’ll be able to see how far each would have travelled had it been real, and determine the winners.”

This Christmas Day race will launch at 12pmon 25th December, and after seven days the balloon which has travelled the furthest will be declared the winner. If it’s your balloon, you’ll win £500 cash, which may be just what you need after the expense of Christmas! If your balloon comes in second place you’ll receive an Apple iPad, and the next ten balloons after that will each get a £10 book token. As well as giving you the chance to win a fantastic festive prize for yourself, these balloons also make a lovely stocking filler or addition to a Christmas present for a friend or family member.

To join the race, simply visit www.pth.org.uk/virtual-christmas-balloon-race to design and register your balloon. The race is being managed by Ecoracing, who are supplying the fantastic prizes which you could win. Each balloon costs £3 to enter, of which Phyllis Tuckwell will receive £2.37. This money will go directly towards helping them to provide supportive and end of life care for local patients and families who are living with an advanced or terminal illness, such as cancer. Just ten balloons could pay for an hour’s care from one of its In-Patient Unit nurses, who each care for up to five patients, and also offer emotional support to their families and carers. Phyllis Tuckwell has continued to provide its vital care throughout the pandemic, and will be there for its patients every day over the Christmas season, but with many of its fundraising events cancelled due to Covid, it needs the support of the local community to help fund this care. So join the race, be in with a chance to win, and support local Hospice Care!