If you’re looking for a fun and different way to support a fantastic charity, we think we’ve found just the one for you – and it involves hot air balloons!
The team from Clatterbridge Cancer Research is aiming to send the charity’s mascot – the Clatterbridge Chick – on a virtual journey around the globe in a bid to raise £50,000 for world class research to enable treatments and understanding of cancer specifically for people in Cheshire and Merseyside.
The Clatterbridge Chick embarks on an around the world adventure
The charity has been going for 30 years and now needs to raise £2million per year to continue its vital work. The idea behind the novel campaign is that people will get sponsored at least £2 per mile to travel in an unusual way and with each donation the Chick will travel closer to the 25,000 mile target on an online map.
Fundraisers are hoping people will find lots of unique modes of travel to keep the mascot on the move. So far ideas have included llama trekking, salsa dancing, tightrope walking plus hot air ballooning and everyone at Virgin Balloon Flights is delighted to be helping to promote the campaign.
To get involved simply log on to the Clatterbridge website to donate your £2 per mile and register your wacky way of travelling! For those of you in need of a little inspiration, there is a list of 80 weird and wonderful ways to get on the move.
The extensive journey will commence on May 1st, running until the online ‘chick-o-meter’ hits the 25,000 mile mark raising funds of £50k. Look out for the Chick turning up at our Cheshire balloon launch site next week!
You can keep up to date daily by following the journey of the Clatterbridge Chick and you can also follow the voyage on Facebook and Twitter.
Sunday April 25th 2010 will be permanently etched in my brain as the day that I endured THE most pain, ever, in my life. I’m sure many novice marathoners will totally agree.
Running a marathon is a full throttle assault on the senses and the body with the mental excitement and anticipation that is the culmination of months of training and the sheer physical endurance that it takes to run 26.2 miles.
This year saw lots of firsts for Virgin, with it being the first ever Virgin London Marathon. Both myself and our friend Bob Fear over at Virgin.com ran our first ever marathons and we had some great support from Virgin Balloon Flights who raised over £225 and £415 for our respective charities; Macmillan and Virgin Unite by holding charity auctions for hot air balloon rides. Thanks Virgin Balloon Flights!
Watch Bob’s brilliant London Marathon Virgin video which really gives you an idea of what it’s like on the day, what to expect and makes you realise that you can do it too!
Virgin Balloon Flights also had the very first Virgin Money balloon commissioned which looked fabulous on the day plus a brand new Virgin Balloon Flights balloon which spent the day bobbing merrily at the start line.
Here’s to the next one Bob?
Virgin Balloon Flights' Eve Ashwell still smiling at the end of the marathon
Since the Icelandic volcano ‘Eyjafjallajokull’ erupted and paralysed air travel for all but hot air balloons, we have soared into the spotlight by keeping our Virgin balloons airborne and lucky passengers happy!
Sadly our planned rescue mission to fly some stranded Brits back over the Channel was thwarted as the wind was in the wrong direction. But, as everything else was grounded, our big red balloons got even more attention than usual. The British media were particularly interested with one of our balloons in Scotland being pictured in the press, our midlands balloon pilot Lindsay Muir appearing on BBC Radio and ITV jumping onboard to film from the basket too.
The team from ITV Tyne Tees News took to the skies with us last Wednesday from scenic launch site Witton Castle in Bishop Auckland for a bird’s eye view of the North East with pilot Dave ‘Sutty’ Sutcliffe .
Without an aeroplane or even a vapour trail in sight, reporter Johnny Blair described his balloon ride adventure with Virgin as “calm, tranquil and spectacular.” Whilst passengers of the same flight were “thrilled to fly” after worries the volcanic ash may halt or hinder their experience of a lifetime.
You can watch our north east balloon flight with ITV Tyne Tees News and see just how green the region is.
Camera-man Sean Reilly films pilot Dave sutcliffe giving passengers a safety briefing on the ground
The ITV camera captures some 'spectacular' view's from the basket!
Although it has been lovely to have the skies to ourselves, thankfully the volcanic ash is now dispersing, its column inches diminishing and travellers are finally returning to their homes and families. We’re particularly pleased to see the planes of our friends at Virgin Atlantic back in the air. We wish everyone who is still stranded abroad a safe and speedy trip home soon.
What a fantastic first Virgin London Marathon
today and two Virgin hot air balloons were part of an amazing sporting spectacle.
More than 36,000 runners including Princess Beatrice, Sir Richard Branson
and his children Holly and Sam, braved some wet and windy conditions to complete the gruelling 26.2 mile course around the Capital raising tonnes of cash for charitites such as Virgin Unite
The elite men’s race was won by Ethiopian Tsegaye Kebede in 2:05:19, Russia’s Liliya Shobukhova secured the elite woman’s race in 2:21:59 21 and Canada’s Josh Cassidy won the wheelchair race in 1:25.31.
Virgin Balloon Flights balloon G-VBFW at the Virgin London Marathon
Virgin Money Balloon G-VMVM at the London Marathon
Pilot Kevin Meehan (right/centre) with the Virgin Money balloon team
Virgin Balloon Flights’ pilots and crew arrived on Blackheath in the early hours before putting on a fantastic show for thousands of runners and spectators, plus millions of people watching television at home. Under the control of pilots Kevin Meehan and Mark Simmons
respectively, the tethered Virgin Money balloon bobbed up and down happily by the Red Start while the Virgin Balloon Flights balloon added some colour with other balloons at the Blue Start.
Well done to all the runners who took part today – especially those in the weird and wonderful costumes. You’re a real inspiration! We’ll be back with more news from the Marathon shortly, including how Virgin.com’s Bob Fear
got on and how much we have helped him raise for Virgin Unite.
Just four days to go until the first Virgin London Marathon on Sunday and we can’t wait to get two lovely new Virgin hot air balloons out and start supporting all of the brave runners!
We’re tethering one of our balloons plus Virgin Money’s balloon at the start line of the marathon and one person we’ll be especially looking out for will be Virgin.com’s very own Bob Fear.
First glimpse of our new 77-size Virgin balloon called G-VBFW which will be tethered at the London Marathon
Bob is one of 100 Virgin runners who are running the marathon with Sir Richard Branson and this year, as part of our annual charity effort, we have decided to support Bob in his fundraising by dontating two pairs of our champagne balloon flights to be autioned on eBay.
All proceeds will go to Virgin Unite the non-profit foundation of the Virgin Group. They’re all about connecting people to tackle tough social and environmental issues, using the Virgin Group’s entrepreneurial skills and energy.
A hot air balloon ride with us at Virgin Balloon Flights is a genuinely unique experience as no two balloon flights are ever the same. We’re the UK’s largest passenger carrying balloon company offering unforgettable airborne adventures and here’s your chance to win a pair of flights worth £198 each for a great charity at an amazing price.
But be quick as these lots end on Thursday (22 Apr, 2010 13:00:34 BST)
Virgin Balloon Flights Virgin Unite Auction 1
Virgin Balloon Flights Virgin Unite Auction 2
Good luck and don’t forget to look out for our hot air balloons at the marathon on television from early on Sunday morning.
Virgin hot air balloon casts a shadow by Steve Lindridge
Virgin balloons are some of the only things to be seen in the sky as the volcanic ash cloud from Iceland continues to disrupt the world of aviation.
Hot air balloons are not affected by the ash because of the way they work and we are continuing to fly as normal when the general weather allows.
Kenneth Karlstrom, director and chief pilot, said: “Balloons are powered by propane gas burners which are not affected by any ash particles like jet plane engines are. So we are quite safe to fly as usual and we have consulted the Civil Aviation Authority and air traffic control on this.”
Pilots and passengers in many parts of the UK have been reporting clear and peaceful skies over the last few days.
Conrad Van Wyk, Virgin Balloon Flights’ pilot in the north of Scotland, said on Friday: “We had a fantastic champagne balloon flight from Perth this morning and the sky was pretty clear. You didn’t really notice the ash as we were probably flying at a lower level. The airwaves were totally silent and it was great to be literally the only thing in the air.”
Virgin balloon ready to launch form perth by Steve Lindridge
Passenger Michael Niklewicz, from Perth, said: “I received the balloon flight for my 60th birthday and I was concerned it wasn’t going to go ahead, but it did and it was excellent. Our pilot Conrad pointed out where you could see the ash as haziness in the sky, but we had a great view all the way to the Tay Road Bridge at Dundee.”
Pilot Conrad Van Wyk captains a balloon ride from Perth in Scotland By Steve Lindridge
If you’re a voucher holder or you’re thinking about booking a balloon flight and have any questions or concerns about the ash cloud, feel free to contact us at Virgin Balloon Flights
As aircraft go, there aren’t many that rival the serenity and sheer spectacle of a hot air balloon. Travelling some 30,000ft lower than your average civilian aircraft our passengers have been getting airborne from several of our launch sites across the UK this week amidst more lovely spring sunshine.
If you’ve ever spotted a hot air balloon peacefully wending its way above the beautiful British countryside have you ever wondered what keeps a balloon up in the first place? Well, the gas that generates ‘lift off’ in one of our big red Virgin balloons is propane. Once the balloon envelope’s been inflated with air that air is then heated with propane burners. The gas’s (now hot air) molecular behaviour alters making it less dense. This makes the air inside the balloon lighter than the air that surrounds it outside which enables the balloon to counteract the laws of gravity in what is known as The Gas Law; basic thermodynamics.
To learn more about how hot air balloons work why not build your own balloon? We don’t recommend this for unsupervised children or anyone wanting a half decent aerial view whilst on their hot air balloon ride. For this we’d refer you to one of our excellent balloon pilots. Chocks away!
Although it may seem ‘proper’ and appropriate to be modest and humble regarding one’s own achievements and to never fish for compliments or broadcast such achievements in a mildly viral manor … there’s surely nothing wrong with letting our lovely passengers do the talking!
The Virgin Balloon Flights season has got off to a flying start and we have happy-peeps throughout England, Scotland and Wales itching to tell us how “fantastic” and “amazing” their balloon trips have been. Thanks to some pretty kind spring weather (I should think so after all that snow!) 2010 looks set to be one of our best years ever.
“My husband and I flew with your Devon crew- Richard Prowse and Co on Thursday evening (8/4/10)…… I had the time of my life…… I can honestly say that I was not scared at all during the Virgin balloon flight, the pilot and crew were very friendly, well organised and professional at all times. The flight was so smooth and the views were breathtaking. I would definitely recommend the flight to all my family and friends. Once again I would like to thank everyone and to let you know that I will definitely be arranging another flight with you in the future” Mrs R Schutt, Devon
“I enjoyed the flight and the whole experience a lot ….. For me the teamwork, the preparation, take-off, flight and ‘taking down’ were all great fun (although clearly the flight was breathtaking!). Once again, thanks to you and the team for what was a very well organised day.” Mr N Gunn, Bakewell
So, a round of applause please for pilot Richard Prowse in Devon, Neal Parry and Rebecca Cains who fly in Derbyshire and all of their crew.If you would like to become airborne like these happy customers, our balloon flights currently start from just £94.99pp with our special offers, so get set for the experience of a lifetime.
Here at Virgin Balloon Flights we’re always looking to do our bit to support charities and fundraising events where possible. This month we’re working with breast cancer reconstruction support group Keeping Abreast. The charity has been nominated to receive raffle funds from Brenda Bowler’s (from Beauty4Brides/Colours4you) evening of style ‘How to Look Good Dressed’ at Caistor Hall Hotel, Norwich, on the 15th April at 7pm.
The evening of ideas and inspiration for ladies covers aspects from make-up, hair and fashion to confidence, nerves and being in front of a camera. Alongside many guest speakers there is the all important raffle and of course the chance to win a pair of Champagne balloon flights from us here at Virgin balloon Flights.
Fancy a balloon flight over Norfolk? No problem! Simply follow our locations link and select the launch site of your choice. For more information on Norfolk’s balloon flight pilot Pete Waller or this month’s ticket offers simply visit the VBF website.
For further information on the How to Look Good Dressed event or to book tickets, please contact Brenda Bowler on email@example.com or 01603 861447. Tickets £10 inclusive of glass of wine or non- alcoholic cocktail (£12 on the door).