Thursday 1 June 2023
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Hot-air balloon launch from Forest Rec to support Nottingham’s national organ donation campaign

Nottingham’s hospitals are launching a national campaign to raise awareness of organ donation – with a hot-pink hot-air balloon taking off from Forest Recreation Ground.

The branded balloon – funded by the Organ Donation Committee – will make its inaugural flight on Monday (27 March), with local schoolchildren getting the chance to have a ride.

“We want to start that conversation about organ donation,” said Skye Irvine-Berry, a specialist nurse in NUH’s Organ Donation Team.

“Some families like to release balloons when they lose a loved one or look up at the sky and stars. The balloon is symbolic and we want our families to look up and remember the precious gift their loved one gave.

“The balloon is really bright and people won’t be able to miss it floating past, and we hope people will talk to each other, make their decisions known or sign up on the organ donation register.”

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Pilot Neil Humphries will be flying the balloon around 30 times in the next 12 months, with the Midlands Air Festival on 2 to 4 June at Alcester in Warwickshire, Bristol International Balloon Fiesta in August, and Chatsworth Country Fair in September already pencilled in.

Neil said:

“I’m aware of the work done by the organ donation and transplant teams at what is a very difficult time for families who are facing the loss of a loved one. Donating an organ gives new life to others that would otherwise be suffering. I am very happy to fly the flag for the team.”

Dr Keith Girling is the Medical Director at Nottingham University Hospitals (NUH) NHS Trust. He said:

“As a Trust, we are completely committed to organ donation and the amazing lifesaving work that is done by the generous decisions of individuals and families at incredibly difficult and challenging times.

“We absolutely hope that the highly visible nature of this balloon will prompt people to find out and talk about this more and we really look forward to hearing the stories that come from people seeing this balloon flying. We are very grateful to the organ donation committee for funding this tremendous project and making this possible.”

John Richardson is Assistant Director, Organ Donation at NHS Blood and Transplant. He said: “This is a remarkable initiative by NUH’s Organ Donation Committee. Almost 7,000 people in the UK are waiting for an organ transplant right now. Organ donors and their families – and the generous decision they make – give hope to those waiting for a life-saving transplant. It’s so crucial that each of us decides, register on the Organ Donor Register and share the decision with our loved ones.

“This balloon will go a long way to sharing the organ donation message and the life-saving difference it makes.”

Councillor Audra Wynter, Nottingham City Council Portfolio Holder for Highways, Transport and Parks, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be able to help NUH with the launch of its organ donation campaign. We have had hot-air balloons launch from the Forest Recreation Ground before but never for such a worthy cause – we wish them every success.”

Skye Irvine-Berry added: “If just one person signs the organ donation register and saves another person’s life, you just can’t put a price on that.”


  • The hot-air balloon launch takes place on Monday 27 March at 6.45am at Forest Recreation Ground in Nottingham. Look out for it and share your photos via Twitter and tag us in @nottmhospitals #organdonation #hotairballoon

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