Eco-friendly balloon race for Valentine’s Day in Wales

Virtual balloon race hosted by a Welsh charity organisation for Valentine’s Day to support the NHS workers.

A heart-shaped balloon to celebrate the day of love at home

Hywel Dda Health Charities is a fundraising organisation in Wales that hosts exciting events for people at home, as an opportunity to contribute to our frontline workers.

The virtual launch location is the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the city of love which matches the theme of the organisation “Show Your NHS Charity Some Love.”

Fundraising Manager, Tara Nickerson said, “We all know how much the public has appreciated the incredible work of our wonderful healthcare professionals throughout the current crisis, and it would be fantastic if people choose to enter more than one balloon, maybe buying an entry as a gift for someone they love, in memory of someone they’ve lost, or just to show they care about our NHS at the present time.”

Man holding onto balloons while walking past the Eiffel Tower

It’s a seven-day computer simulation race where everything is real except the balloon. Which allows you to digitally customise the name, shape, colour, pattern and the weight for better flight performance.

It has a software that uses current weather data to determine the progress of each balloon. It can also be tracked on Google Maps and Satellites once launched for people to watch and enjoy.

As Mike Phillips from Ecoracing said, “It’s a fun and easy way to raise funds for a cause, which kids and adults alike love!”

Google map of the launch location of the virtual balloon race

In 2017, balloon release was banned across UK due to the negative impact it has on the environment. It causes marine pollution, harms wildlife and is an environmental hazard.

Environmental campaigns, Wildlife Trust Wales and Keep Wales Tidy work hard to bring awareness about this to prevent harmful effects on the people, animals and environment. 

As James Byrne from Wildlife Trust Wales said, “The string from the balloon can wrap around marine life, causing injury, illness and suffocation.”

Keep Wales Tidy volunteers cleaning the shores of a beach

While Hanna Jones from Keep Wales Tidy admires the initiative of the eco-friendly virtual balloon race to raise funds for the NHS workers in these tough times.

She said, “We’d encourage other charities to follow Hywel Dda Health Charities’ lead and think about alternative activities that prevent litter from the air.”