* The crew of Lancaster DV180 who will be commemorated on the balloon.
A couple are putting their weight behind Nightingale House’s latest fundraiser as a thank you for the support they get from staff at the hospice.
Roger and Jen Cotter, from Llay, are the latest sponsors of the 2021 Build A Balloon Campaign – a unique initiative to build a hot air balloon to raise vital funds for those with life-limiting illnesses accessing Nightingale House’s Day and In-patient services.
Jen has Multiple Myeloma and has regular appointments at the hospice on Chester Road, together with Roger who is able to access the family support service.
The pair have opted for very different balloon panels as a way of saying thank you to the hospice team for the support and care they receive.
Roger’s balloon panel is an image of the crew of the Lancaster DV180 that crashed over Berlin during WW2.
Jen’s father-in-law was brought up in Liverpool by the mother of one of the aircrew, W.H.Clarke. The photo was found in his belonging’s years later.
The crew members are already commemorated on the side of Sally B’s Roll of Honour, the B17 Flying Fortress in Duxford, where it is maintained and flown as a memorial to the 79,000 Allied airmen who lost their lives in Europe during the Second World War.
He felt it was fitting to keep their memory flying high and decided on putting their picture on the hot air balloon and “give them wings.”
Roger said: “These young men went through 20 missions together. I thought it important they are remembered as young men with faces and attitude and not simply as names alphabetically listed on a war memorial. I felt it was fitting that when the Nightingale House hot air balloon takes flight that these young men will reach for the skies once more.”
Hi wife Jen, who was recovering from major surgery for cancer when she was diagnosed with Myeloma, chose to sponsor a panel as a gift to her friend depicting an image of her friend’s great grandchildren.
She believes the comfort and support she has found at the hospice has got her through challenging months and wanted to say thank you by supporting Build-A-Balloon.
She said: “Nightingale House is a community within a community. I don’t know where we would have been without the care we have both received from the hospice in recent times. Kay in Day Care Services has been an absolute rock to us during very difficult times.”
The couple have been able to access numerous services on offer at the hospice whilst Jen has been undergoing treatment at the Shooting Star Unit at the Maelor Hospital such as mindfulness and art courses, all of which are provided free of charge thanks to the kindness of so many fundraisers and donors who support events and campaigns like Build-A-Balloon.
Sarah Povey, Fundraiser at Nightingale House, said the charity was overwhelmed with the positive support the Build-A-Balloon campaign had received.
She said: “To know when we look up and see the Nightingale House balloon floating over that we, as a communitycame together to create this magnificent spectacle is incredible.
"It will be a wonderful feeling. Not only will it represent our supporters and our corporate partners but also Nightingale House and the difference we, all together, have made to those with life limiting illness in Wrexham and the surrounding area just like Jen and Roger.”
* To sponsor a panel on our unique hot air balloon that will fly in summer 2021 then go to www.nightingalehouse.co.uk/event/build-a-balloon/ before the closing date of 30 April.