The Friendship School Opens In Ghana

In 2013, Operations Director Andrew Holly won the Ultramagic Innovation Award with his project; The Friendship Balloon.

Andrew’s vision was to allow one balloon to travel around the world with pilots being invited to fly the balloon only once and to showcase not only the amazing ballooning community but to encourage the spirit of friendship across the world. After each flight the pilot would sign the logbook and make a donation to charity, raising money for a worthy cause.

This fantastic idea was made a reality by Spanish balloon manufacturer Ultramagic with the Friendship balloon first being launched in 2013 and the project of building a school in a remote location in Ghana chosen as the charitable cause.

A dedicated website was built by Ultramagic to allow pilots to request to fly the balloon and also showing the locations of the balloon across the world. There is a blog for each flight containing pictures and of course information on how to make a donation.

Since 2013, 341 pilots have flown the balloon in over 20 countries, across five continents and raising over 10,000 euros! The Friendship Balloon is now known world wide and there was huge demand in each country to be the lucky pilot to fly the balloon and be a part of this special project.

In 2017, construction began on the school in Amoma, Brong-Ahafo Ghana and today it officially opened, with of course the Friendship Balloon tethering outside!

Josep Llado Costa, Director and Co-Founder of Ultramagic Balloons started his ballooning life by simply building a a balloon and taking this to Africa where he, Jaume Llansana and Joan Comellas flew the balloon from Zanzibar to Kisiangani in 40 different flights and taking 11 months. This sense of adventure continues to be at the heart of Ultramagic and indeed Andrew cites Josep as one of his own inspirations.

Josep and the Ultramagic family were on site for the school opening but sadly Andrew could not be there, due to welcoming his first child with wife Jennifer, only the day before – a good excuse! Andrew was of course hugely disappointed to not be there to see his original idea become a reality but said;

‘As if we hadn’t had a proud enough week so far…So fantastic to see my idea turned into reality and deliver so much joy to so many and finish up with funding a school in Ghana. So sad I couldn’t be there in person but hope to visit one day…’

An incredible achievement for all involved and thank you to Ultramagic for seeing this project through to completion.

To learn more about the Friendship Balloon, visit the dedicated website here…

Have a look at our other latest projects and events here