We’re delighted to announce that Virgin Balloon Flights has officially accepted a place in the Virgin London Marathon 2011 on April 17 from Virgin Unite (Virgin’s charitable foundation).

After several brave team members put themselves forward to run the whopping 26.2 miles for charity, the lucky Virgin Balloon Flights’ employee drawn out of hat was Customer Service Representative Susan Bowerman!

Sue explained: “I am so nervous but very excited at the same time. I have never run a marathon before and haven’t done any running for over 10 years, so I seriously have my work cut out. My training has begun and I’m aiming to be fighting fit and ready to go once poised at the marathon start line. Wish me luck!”

Virgin Unite’s campaign for the 2011 London marathon is titled 'Changing The Course' which aims to encourage runners to support young people and the charities that help change their lives.

The lovely people from Virgin Unite say: “We’re putting extra efforts into getting closer to our charities and really helping to change the course of young people’s lives. We are focusing on helping to put the money where it really matters, with smaller charities who are on the front line of helping young people in the UK”.

So after picking a runner, it was time to pick a worthy cause to support and we had one amazing local charity in our minds that we knew would benefit from our help. Hope House Children's Hospices are based in and around Shropshire (not far from Virgin Balloon Flights’ HQ) and make the most of short and precious lives providing practical and emotional support to families facing the agony of losing a child.

The Oswestry and Conwy based hospices need £3.5 million pounds each year to continue providing this outstanding level of care. Now it’s our job here at Virgin Balloon Flights to make that burden a little lighter next year so we have set a fundraising target of £10,000 for Sue’s marathon effort.

The cogs in the fundraising machine have begun to turn and we have numerous exciting things planned as we bid to hit this ambitious target and of course we’ll keep you posted! You can keep up-to-date with Sue’s training on her blog virginmarathongirl and you can make an online donation on her Virgin Money Giving Page (the not-for-profit charity donations website).

Watch this space!