Phyllis Tuckwell’s virtual balloon race is back, so buy your balloon now, create your design, and be in with the chance of winning £500 or an Apple iPad!

This eco-friendly balloon race is made up entirely of virtual, computer-generated balloons. For just £3 you can buy one for yourself, or perhaps as an Easter gift for a family member or friend. You’ll be able to select your balloon’s colour, pattern, helium content and rubber thickness, and decorate it to make it personal to you, or leave it plain if you prefer. Then simply create a label for it and join the race!

The balloon race will start at Jerusalem Old City, where the balloons will be ‘released’ at midday on 4th April, which is Easter Sunday, to celebrate the festive season. Real weather data – such as temperature and wind speed – will be taken into account, and a simulated flight pattern will be created for each individual balloon. They will sail through the skies for seven days, and you’ll be able to login and track your balloon’s progress on Google maps. If you’ve bought the balloon as a gift for someone else, you can simply e-mail the link to them, and they can log in to see how their balloon is faring – a perfect gift when many of us can’t meet up with friends or family in person at the moment.

“The simulated flight patterns will show how far each balloon would have travelled had they been real,” says Fiona Chapman, Events Fundraiser at Phyllis Tuckwell. “If your balloon has travelled the furthest at the end of seven days, you’ll win £500 cash! Second prize is an Apple iPad, and the next ten balloons after that will each get a £10 book token. The race is being managed by Ecoracing, who are supplying the fantastic prizes which you could win, but we’ll also be awarding prizes for the top three Phyllis Tuckwell balloons which have travelled the furthest!”

Each balloon costs £3 to enter, of which Phyllis Tuckwell will receive £2.37. This money will go directly towards helping it 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, 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!

To join in, simply visit www.pth.org.uk/event/virtual-easter-balloon-race to design and register your balloon. Good luck!