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Up in the air

Relay fundraiser offers once-in-a-lifetime ride for Sturbridge resident

To celebrate her 80th birthday, Sally Byrne, of Sturbridge, took a ride in a hot air balloon in Hudson after winning the ride in a silent auction from the Southbridge Relay For Life. Adam T. Silva. (click for larger version)
January 16, 2011
STURBRIDGE — Sally Byrne has been able to cross something off her bucket list.

When the Southbridge branch of the Relay For Life placed a silent auction in the Southbridge Evening News in 2008 and a ride in a hot air balloon was one of the prizes, Byrne, a Sturbridge resident, knew the time was right.

"It's something I've wanted to do for years," she said. "A friend of mine and I decided to do this when she turned 60 and I turned 80. When I saw that in the paper, I knew this was my chance. The ride was just like how it was supposed to be. I've wanted to ride in one ever since I saw the film, 'Around the World in 80 Days,' when I was younger."

The ride, which took place in Hudson, originally was set up to take Sally and friend Pamela Engbert, also took up two additional riders, as a hot air balloon festival was occurring that day.

"In Hudson, there were 15 balloons going off that day," she explained. "I've been to the hot air balloon festival in Albuquerque [N.M.], where they have more than 600 balloons. That's too big. This was nice and small."

For more on this story, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

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