Community Service/ Billericay Great Balloon race

After much detective work, the winner of our balloon race has been located and her prize of £100 has now been presented to her.

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Kirsty lands the Prize

Now we know...our “winning” balloon was bought by Kirsty Eatherton now of Rectory Road, Tiptree.

Launched from our stand at the Summerfest, it travelled 334 miles to Stockum on the Mohnesee, in NordRhein Westfahlen, well west of Dortmund in Germany. Kirsty will receive the £100 prize for the furthest distance travelled.

Plucky balloon! In all we sold 230 balloons on the day at £2.00 a time, or three for £5.00, and cards returned informed us that apart from the balloons above, amongst the rest, two reached Belgium, and four made it to the Netherlands.

Treasurer Mike Sinclair commented after the event: “We were delighted to support Mayflower’s big summer event and to involve people on the day with more knowledge of our club and Rotary’s work in general. It was great to see the youngsters lining up for a chance to float their balloon. We had not run one for some years so we are happy to see it so successful again.”

(The nearest balloon to Kirsty’s also landed in Germany, at Marl, having travelled 288 miles, and the next closest landed in Brabant, 229 miles away in the Netherlands.)

Kirsty Eatherton, whose name tag was on the balloon, knew nothing about it until our own super sleuth Peter Greene unearthed her in a series of bizarre searches.
He discovered that:

  • It was Kirsty’s father, Kevin who bought the balloon in her name at our balloon race stall at Mayflower’s Summerfest.
  • Address given was in Devereux Way, Billericay.  He checked  that – nobody in and a “Sold” sign laying in the front garden
  • Trace of Kirsty’s father, Kevin, through web sites, put him at Hannikins Farm where he had run the community association.
  • At Hannikins, Peter was told that the family (mother and father) had moved to France.
  • He obtained Kirsty’s mobile number and reached her at the second attempt only to discover that:
  • Kirsty herself had moved – to Tiptree!

Peter takes up the story:  “I told her she had won the balloon race which came as a great surprise. I got the impression that her dad had forgotten to tell her about buying the balloon. She was thrilled with the news – especially when I told her that she had won the £100 first prize.”

The story does not end there.  On Monday, September 7, Kirsty and her friend Louise Marsh were our guests at lunch at Reids and president Ed handed over the cheque.  Kirsty, aged 20, works in the area as a full-time carer but “a good boss” gave her time off to join us.  She is due to start a three-year course in psychology at the University of Essex.  Asked what she would do with the money, her answer was as expected: “It will go towards my tuition fees”.

A worthy response to a worthy Rotary venture and cause.