Virtual balloon race raises cash for charities

Harrogate Brigantes’ virtual balloon race raises cash for charities

Tuesday, 4th May 2021, 3:30 pm

The virtual balloon race - organised by the Rotary Club of Harrogate Brigantes - saw 532 balloons, bought by people from as far away as South Africa and Australia, competing for first place.

The race, which raised money for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance and Supporting Older People, was won by Emily, with the balloon covering a massive 2,023 virtual kilometres.

In hot pursuit was a balloon named Bookworm which finished just 21 kilometres behind.

The balloons were ‘released’ on April 14, with the owners able to follow the ups and downs of the race online over the next week.

The winners came not only from Harrogate and Hampsthwaite in North Yorkshire but also from London, Speldhurst near Tunbridge Wells, Winchester and Spain.

The prizes, which were donated by well-wishers, included a Bettys’ hamper, a family tea at Rudding Park Hotel, a visit to Yorkshire Air Ambulance’s headquarters at Nostell Priory Wakefield, an alcoholic hamper, a bottle of malt whisky, and a selection of wines.

The race - organised to celebrate the Brigantes’ 40th anniversary - raised £1,000, which was shared equally between the Yorkshire Air Ambulance and Supporting Older People, both of which are in need of additional support because of the impact of the Covid crisis on their work.

David Hayes, President of Harrogate Brigantes, said: “We are all delighted that the balloon race has been so successful, has been so much enjoyed and has allowed us to help two such worthwhile causes as the Yorkshire Air Ambulance and Supporting Older People. We hope to repeat it and make it even more successful in years to come. Meanwhile we are beginning to get back to more traditional ways of raising funds and club members were recently delighted to meet each other in the flesh for the first time in over a year while manning a charity stall at Knaresborough’s Wednesday market.”

Yorkshire Air Ambulance provides a lifesaving rapid response emergency service to more than five million people across Yorkshire. To donate, visit:

Supporting Older People aims to alleviate loneliness and isolation experienced by older people living on their own in the Harrogate and Knaresborough district. It runs a befriending scheme with volunteers visiting isolated people on a regular basis, a tea and talk event, a dining out club, outings, a singing group and a movement and music class. For more, visit: