Balloon race to help aid soldiers' charityBy Stephen Lloyd
March 06, 2013
A MOTHER hopes her latest fundraising initiative in memory of her son, who was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan, really takes off.
Sharon Wigley has launched a virtual balloon race to raise funds for Shrapnel, a charity she set up following the death of her son Jonathan.
Royal Marine Jonathan Wigley was 21 when he was hit by gunfire from an American plane during a battle with the Taliban in Helmand Province in December 2006.
Mrs Wigley set up Shrapnel to help soldiers who have lost limbs serving their country.
Last year she launched a campaign called One In A Million, asking for a million people to donate a pound to help Britain’s injured soldiers.
This year she is holding a virtual balloon race and needs to sell as many balloons as possible.
The race will see the ‘internet wind’ grab the virtual balloons and blow them a random distance until the end of the race. People can track the progress of the balloons online.
“The balloons only cost £2 each and the more balloons we sell, the more prizes we can offer,” said Mrs Wigley, who lives in Morris Street, Hook.
“The race starts on March 14 and runs for two weeks but all balloons should ideally be bought before the race starts to give them the best opportunity.
“We have a starting prize of a £30 Amazon voucher but we will increase the value of our first prize and add more prizes according to the number of balloons we sell.”
Mrs Wigley launched Shrapnel after being told of a young Royal Marine who had lost both legs and was trying to raise funds for a specialised wheelchair. A number of large charities had said that providing wheelchairs was not within their remit.
Mrs Wigley said: “We set out to raise money for prosthetic limbs and wheelchairs, but we will provide injured troops with any help they need towards the cost of disability equipment.
"The soldiers get things while they are serving but once they are discharged they have to rely on the NHS who don’t necessarily provide good quality limbs.
"Some can have a starting price of £15,000 and £5,000 for the sockets which have to be replaced and repaired."
Those taking part in the virtual balloon race can choose a colour and name for their balloon and have as many balloons as they wish.
For more details, go to www.balloonrace.com/shrapnel.