Actually I think that should be 300 cheers. At least. Here’s why......
Esther Ford (pictured above, cycling in Norway) took part in Race for Nature, our first virtual balloon race. She evidently chose just the right combination of puff and balloon thickness, as her balloon travelled the furthest, eventually popping 322 miles away near Gastines in north-west France. That was over 100 miles more than the other competitors! You can see all the results here.
And Esther very nicely summed up exactly why we did this race:
“I thought following my virtual balloon would be fun - but, also, I have always wondered why balloon releases are used as a symbol of hope, when it seems so obvious that the balloons end up as litter in our trees and hedgerows. What I hadn't realised however is that many of the balloons also end up on our beaches - the race results show this clearly, given the disappearance of many of the virtual balloons over the English channel. I hope the race results help us all understand better the dangers that balloon releases pose to wild birds”
Helping people understand better (and therefore avoid) threats to wildlife whilst also having fun is a win-win for everyone.
And wildlife won the most from this Race for Nature.
As owner of the winning balloon, Esther was the lucky winner of the £1,500 prize. And to our surprise, Esther very generously donated the prize straight back to the RSPB! We are quite flabbergasted at her kindness, and thank her from the bottom of our hearts.