Fundraisers have high hopes that Virtual Balloon Race takes off for local charities

TWO Midlands rotary clubs are hoping to give fundraising a lift after lockdown when their joint initiative takes off for local charities.

Members of Knowle & Dorridge and Redditch Kingfisher Clubs are inviting people to compete in a Virtual Balloon Race in which a host of prizes are up for grabs, including £500 for the winner.

For £3 per ticket, competitors can design their own balloon to get it race-ready for 12pm on Christmas Day before then tracking it on its seven-day journey from Santa’s Village in Lapland.

The proceeds will be divided equally between Molly Olly’s Wishes in Warwick and the Public Access Defibrillator Project, working with the Community Heartbeat Trust to fund more community defibrillators and CPR training in Redditch.

Colin Winstone

Colin Winstone, President of Rotary Club in Knowle and Dorridge added: “It’s vital we continue to raise money for our charities – and the virtual balloon race means that we can reach out far and wide to help us raise money. It’s all online, but it’s lots of fun, it’s totally environmentally friendly and it appeals to adults and kids alike – we’re really hoping people will enter into the Christmas spirit and help us raise money for such worthwhile causes. It’s our first go at this, but we hope it will be real success.”

Molly Olly’s Wishes was established in 2011 following the death of Rachel and Tim Ollerenshaw’s eight-year-old daughter Molly from a rare kidney cancer.

Molly Olly’s Wishes, based in Warwick, works to support children with terminal or life-limiting illnesses and their families and help with their emotional wellbeing as well as grant wishes and donate therapeutic toys and books to both children directly and to hospitals throughout the UK.

Part of more than £2.5m raised to date, has also been used to fund the first Molly Olly consultant in paediatric medicine at Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

Further information about Molly Olly’s Wishes or how to donate can be found at: www.mollyolly.co.uk

Rachel Ollerenshaw said: “Molly Olly’s, like so many other charities have found the period since March very tough as many of our key events have been cancelled and we have seen a reduction in donations as a result. This is at a time when we have also seen an increase in demand for our services.

“In October we had a 30% increase in requests for wishes and we distributed over 800 Olly’s and books to hospitals and individuals. “The virtual balloon race is a really simple and fun, low cost idea that anyone can take part in . Maybe people could give instead of Christmas cards or perhaps it could be a stocking filler, or just fun for the family on Christmas Day to take part in.

“We are extremely grateful to Knowle & Dorridge and Redditch Kingfisher Rotary Clubs for their support in organising.”

Redditch Kingfisher Rotary have got behind the cause to expand the number of Public Access Defibrillators in Redditch to ensure that life-saving equipment gets into as many local community spaces as possible. There are 3,400 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests each year in the West Midlands, from which only 1 in 8 people survive.

Further information is available by visiting: www.communityheartbeat.org.uk

Honor Keatley

Martin Fagan, National Secretary of The Community Heartbeat Trust, said: “It’s been great to work with Redditch Kingfisher on their ambition to get a Public Access Defibrillator into all parts of Redditch. We bring expertise on installations and ongoing management of defibrillators, and they bring vital fundraising and community engagement and awareness. It’s a partnership that we look forward to developing further to benefit the Redditch community.”

Honor Keatley, President of Redditch Kingfisher Rotary said: “This year has been incredibly difficult for everyone, and Rotary Clubs have found that our usual ways of getting out in to the community, volunteering, and running fundraising activities have simply had to stop because of the pandemic.

“The problems and the causes are still there though, so now we are thinking about how we can do things differently.”

To take part in the Virtual Balloon Race visit: www.tinyurl.com/ChristmasBalloon

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