Before you can buy a balloon, you need to create an account here otherwise we do not know who has ownership of a particular balloon. That balloon could of course, win one of our brilliant prizes. Each balloon costs just £3 and you can buy as many balloons as you want to increase your chances of winning.

When you have created an account and bought balloons for a specific cause or charity, you can link through to your personal dashboard. On the dashboard you can ‘customise’ each balloon by changing various parameters of the balloon size, shape and composition to enhance your chances of winning.

Reflecting real life, virtual balloons just like latex ones, can pop if the balloon parameters are not suited to the weather. For example, maximising helium content in stormy weather is not advised, so looking at the predicted weather for your race period prior to customisation helps your chances of winning.

Lots more fun can be had decorating your balloon with all sorts of colours, patterns, and a personalised message.

You can return back to your dashboard and change elements of your balloon or redecorate as often as you like right up to a race launch time and date.

Once the balloons are virtually launched, they are subject to a simulated flight pattern based on the actual weather conditions such as the prevailing wind and current temperature. This simulation uses an advanced computer modelling programme linked to Google maps and a commercial weather data supplier, Aeris.

Gross revenues are the number of balloons sold x £3; the figure is constantly shown on your cause / charity page; for example, £9 from 3 balloon purchases.

Our linear system operating costs of 14.7% are then deducted from that gross figure. The nett amount is what the cause / charity will receive automatically though the BACS banking payment platform. A typical calculation is below.

Cat Protection. Newtown. Wales sold 200 balloons for one of our races.

The cause would receive (200 x £3) – 14.7 x (200 X £3) = £600 – £88.20 = £511.80

All races are 7days in duration and the winning balloon is the one that has flown the furthest in a straight line from the launch location. Interestingly, a popped balloon can still win if the wind direction changes and sends the still-flying balloons backwards in a reverse direction.

The winner will be emailed with confirmation that they have won the race and with details of how to contact the organiser to arrange receiving their prize.