Church of England Diocese of St.Albans Royston

...And they have lift-off!

1 Oct 2020, 8 a.m.

The Royston Rotary Club has had an amazing success with its charity virtual balloon race. A total of £2813.24 was raised for Home-Start Royston, Buntingford & South Cambridgeshire, which has been supporting local families since 1983, working alongside parents through all kinds of tough times.

A delighted Rotarian, Tony Briar, who organised the event locally, explains:

”With all our usual fundraising projects cancelled due to COVID19, the Club looked for alternative ways to raise money for good causes. We eventually decided upon the virtual balloon race, which was run by a national provider, Eco Racing.

It worked like this: The ‘virtual’ balloons lifted off from Red Square, Moscow, on 14th September and flew for seven days. We had been offering balloons at £3 each since mid-June and had received a great response locally. By the time the big day arrived we had sold 1044 balloons!

All the balloons took off exactly on time and most of them drifted off to the north west of Moscow. After 6 hours the leading balloons were already 60Kms away from the launch point, with everybody being able to follow them on Google. We noticed that a rogue cluster headed in the opposite direction, but evidently this was to be expected, and the winners of the race were the balloons that travelled the furthest, whatever the direction they took.”

At the end of the seven days the leading balloon from Royston’s sales was one named named “MAS” (pictured), owned by “Sam”, having travelled 1391 Kms and ending up over Sweden. Although Sam’s position was only 20th overall nationally - and therefore not qualifying for any of the main prizes - he will nevertheless receive a cheque for £100 from Eco Racing as the overall winner from Royston’s group.

Home-Start Royston’s Scheme Manager, Sarah Mascall, said:

"We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who supported the balloon race organised by the Royston Rotary Club. The last 6 months have been very challenging for Home-Start; but we proudly continue to bring “a little lifeline of reality” to local families who are struggling in these difficult times. One mum told us, “I have really appreciated having the service especially during lockdown as it has been such a lonely and isolating time”.

As the pandemic has hugely exacerbated feelings of isolation and loneliness it is likely, as we navigate through the uncertainty of the next few months, that our support will be more important than ever before. This funding that has been so kindly donated by the Royston Rotary Club will be put towards a new training course for volunteers. Knowing we can plan to recruit and train new volunteers to help reach families in need is wonderful"