COVID-19 claims lives of Bill Harrop’s Balloons couple

Hartbeespoort’s well-known Bill Harrop’s Balloons couple, Bill (81) and Mary (74) Harrop have died of COVID-19 complications.

Mary and Bill Harrop

Mary passed away on 26 June and Bill died on Sunday, 4 July. Both were in hospital at the time.

The family was planning a virtual memorial service for Mary on 10 July, which will now be a service for the couple.

Mary tested positive for COVID-19 while in hospital on 24 June. She was being treated for oesophagus cancer. Bill tested positive the next day. Due to a shortage of beds in hospitals, he initially isolated at home but was hospitalised on 28 June.

Bill Harrop started Bill Harrop’s Original Balloon Safaris in Skeerpoort in 1981 and his air balloon trips among the beautiful Magliesberg Mountain range drew tourists from all over the world. His air balloons were a huge tourist attraction to the Hartbeespoort area.

Their daughter, Sarah Bauling, paid tribute to her parents in touching Facebook posts the past week.

“This is the hardest post I have ever had to write…. Friends and family it is with great sadness and a shattered and completely broken heart to let you know that our beautiful, strong, warrior of a mom got her angel wings on 26 June. She fought as long and as hard as she could …. Right now we are simply devastated and have no idea what our lives will be like without her – she was the kindest, most caring woman with a zest for life like no other.
The quote that comes to mind is “It is not how much we give, but how much love we put into giving” and this truly describes our mom, my dad’s wife and best friend.”

And only a week later…
“Sam and I are absolutely devastated to share the tragic news that our dad, our hero gained his angel wings at 13:25 yesterday, 4 July. This “storm” came at him with everything it had. He fought hard, he gave it his all, he did not “stand down” …. but sadly it simply swept him away.

Our lives will never be the same. We are wrecked knowing that this world has lost a man who gave so much, laughed so easily and lived every second to the fullest.

Dad you were and always will be remembered as an “intrepid aeronaut explorer” … Your enthusiasm for life was contagious and you created and left so many amazing memories for others.”

The couple leaves their daughter, Sarah, and son, Sam, and four grandchildren behind. A live streaming of the couple’s “Celebration of life” will be broadcast on Saturday, 10 July at 10:00 on Zoom and Youtube.