Keith Metcalf, 64, from Ossett West Yorkshire took to the skies with Virgin Balloon Flights last week to celebrate his 40th wedding anniversary. The balloon ride, which was bought for Keith as an anniversary gift from his wife, took off from York Racecourse and headed westwards over the town of Tadcaster.

“The balloon flight was brilliant, it was so relaxing floating along and you don’t seem to be moving. We passed over fields and small villages and I could see both Ferrybridge and Eggborough power stations in the distance. As we passed over Tadcaster we could clearly see the breweries too,” said Keith.

On the ground, Keith’s six year old grandson and his son-in-law Neil Spofforth, 31 from Wakefield, looked on as ‘Grandad flew high in the sky’! Neil, who has been interested in photography for many years had recently bought his first digital SLR camera and was catching Keith’s ballooning experience image by image.

“This was my first time photographing hot air balloons, it was amazing watching the Virgin balloons go up, seeing one close up for the first time was awe inspiring,” said Neil.
I particularly enjoyed trying to photograph the flames as the air in the balloon was heated up for take-off and then as the balloon sailed away. I was fortunate the flight launched around 5pm because as they floated away into the distance, the sun came down giving me the opportunity to get the balloons in silhouette,” he added.

The balloon came to land in a field just outside Newton Kyme where Keith enjoyed a Champagne toast and received a flight certificate endorsed by Sir Richard Branson and signed by his pilot Dave Sutcliffe.

The photographs of Keith’s adventure are available to view on Neil’s website . More information regarding hot air balloon rides with Virgin Balloon Flights is available here.