Co Tyrone man Ryan Tracey again proved he’s the world’s fastest balloon modeller by smashing the World Record for the most balloon models made in one hour.
At Belfast’s CastleCourt shopping centre today, the 37-year-old Fermanagh and Omagh Council employee, who already as three Guinness World Records to his name, far exceeded his target of 800 sculptures – 53 more than the previous record.
The Omagh father-of-six had twisted his way to an incredible 839 balloon dogs, swords and flowers when he ran out of balloons, with almost nine minutes left on the clock.
While his incredible achievement still has to be ratified by Guinness World Records, Ryan was absolutely delighted with his record attempt, which was organised in support of NSPCC Northern Ireland’s Childhood Day (June 1).
“I feel completely and utterly exhausted,” he told the News Letter. “It’s the most difficult thing I have ever done in my life. But it was all for NSPCC, which is a fantastic charity and a really good cause.
“I was doing it for the kids today. I have six kids myself and I know how important this charity is for children. I just kept that in the back of my mind and just kept going.
“There were plenty of times my arms were seized and my thumbs weren’t working and I just had to keep going.”
Ryan, who has a degree in engineering and a masters in design, continued: “I have been wanting to do this record since I started balloon modelling six years ago.
“I have three World Records already, but that is the most challenging thing I’ve ever done, certainly in the context of balloon modelling. I knew what I had to do. I knew when I had to dig in and it really helped that I was doing it for a fantastic cause.”
Ryan’s speedy balloon modelling talents earned him a place in the semi-final of Britain’s Got Talent in 2017, and he has also appeared om a number of other television shows including Blue Peter and Gogglebox. He has also recently designed his own ‘science of balloons’ stage show.
Tomorrow – NSPCC NI’s Childhood Day – will see an army of NSPCC volunteers and fundraisers take to the streets of Belfast as well as holding events and activities in Belfast and Abbey Centre to raise money for the leading child protection charity’s work in Northern Ireland.
Catherine Nuttall, the NSPCC’s head of fundraising in Northern Ireland, said: “We are very grateful for Ryan’s support and his world record attempt is a real highlight of this year’s NSPCC Childhood Day.
“We would like to thank everyone across Northern Ireland who has already supported our Childhood Day campaign. We hope as many people as possible will get involved in our day in Belfast, whether it’s buying a badge, volunteering or taking part in an event in Belfast city centre or at the Abbey Centre.
“The number one concern for young people contacting our Childline service is emotional and mental wellbeing with 1,374 counselling sessions carried out on the subject with children from Northern Ireland last year (2017-18). We want all young people across Northern Ireland to know that it is always ok to speak out and ask for help when they need it.”
For more information log on to www.nspcc.org.uk/childhoodday