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Virtual Balloon Race Gives Charity A Lift

A Warwick charity has been given a lift thanks to an innovative festive fundraising initiative. Members of Knowle & Dorridge Rotary Club collected £2,700 for Molly Olly’s Wishes when their virtual balloon race took off on Christmas Day.

The joint initiative with Redditch Kingfisher Club, also raised £2,700 for the Community Heartbeat Trust in Redditch. Competitors were invited to 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.

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.

The charity 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:

Rachel Ollerenshaw said: “The balloon race organised by the Rotary was a really fun, different fundraising idea. It was great as it was so simple for people to take part. Molly Olly’s like so many others are keen to find alternative and new ways to fundraise during the pandemic and also to reach a wider audience and increase awareness.

“The support from the Rotary is very much appreciated and the funds raised will help make a difference to children and their families facing very challenging circumstances. A big thank you to everyone involved.”

The Community Heartbeat Trust was established to fund more community defibrillators and CPR training in Redditch. There are 3,400 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests each year in the West Midlands, from which only 1 in 8 people survive.

Keith McDavid, who co-organised the event on behalf of the Rotary Club of Knowle & Dorridge, said: “Like all charities we are finding it difficult to fund the causes we want to support in these problematic times and, hopefully, the Christmas Day Balloon Race provided a lot of fun for all those who took part. I also hope the race helped to create a small diversion for all participants from what is going on all around us at present.”

Written by Amanda Chalmers

Rotary Club of Knowle and Dorridge:

Redditch Kingfisher Rotary: