January Following their acquisition of Northern Rock, Virgin Money launched their brilliant new advert, ‘40 Years of Better’, marking the start of their ‘quest to make banking better.’ We featured alongside Virgin Records, Virgin Galactic, Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Trains as the commercial celebrates the rich history of the Virgin brand. Take a look back and view the TV ad on Youtube here. Virgin Money TV Ad February Adam Fleetwood accepted the challenge to represent Virgin Balloon Flights and complete the Virgin Marathon, all in aid of Birmingham Children’s Hospital. Adam put together a short movie to win the Virgin votes, which you can watch on YouTube here. Every year the British Heart Foundation has a National Wear Red Day and as always, staff here donned their best red clobber and ate beautiful heart covered cupcakes. British Heart Foundation Cake Day at Virgin Balloon Flights March Our Virgin London Marathon runner Adam Fleetwood completed the ‘Adidas Silverstone Half Marathon’ as part of his training and his fundraising for Birmingham Children’s Hospital reached over the £2000 mark. Adam Fleetwood Virgin Marathon Man at Silverstone Half Marathn April The villagers of Wray celebrated their Silver Jubilee of their annual country fair. Visitors flocked from far and wide to wander round the picturesque Lancashire village of Wray and enjoy the scarecrows which take over each spring. We donated a champagne balloon flight for two as the winners prize for the best scarecrow competition which saw a range of traditional designs, topical creations, some ingenious moving masterpieces and with the Olympics on its way, Olympic-themed scarecrows. Scarecrow Festival at Wray, Virgin Balloon Flights launch site May We had the first proposal of 2012 when Karl Dalgarno popped the question to partner Lucy Jenkins, 3000ft up in the air. Karl and Lucy first balloon proposal in 2012 June With our 2012 flying season well under way, we officially introduced our new pilots Bart D’Hooge, Chris Oxby, Peter Philpot and Russell Collins. July Here at Virgin Balloon flights we teamed up with Daffodil Waves Photography to offer one loved-up couple the chance to win a photo shoot in skies on board one of our balloons. The photoshoot took place on a lovely June evening.

Balloon photo shoot by Daffodil Waves

Couple in Balloon by Daffodil Waves photography

August August was a time for some brilliant summer events. We celebrated the Great British summer at Bristol International Balloon Fiesta with our record breaking tea party in the sky (highest open-air airborne tea party). We served sandwiches and cream cakes to our competition winners on china crockery and they enjoyed Twinings tea and English sparkling wine as they floated along, while classical string music played in the bunting-clad basket. Virgin-Balloon-Flights-Tea-Party-in-the-Sky We also had first visit to V Festival at Hylands Park in Essex where we tethered a balloon at the weekend and what a scorcher it was! We provided some additional entertainment for the crowd who could see our balloon from the main stage, bobbing away to music from the likes of Tom Jones and Snow Patrol.

Virgin Balloon Flights at V festivalVirgin Balloon Flights at V festival 2


A huge achievement for our pilot Lindsay Muir who won the 2nd FAI European Women’s Hot Air Balloon Championship. Congratulations again Lindsay!

Virgin Balloons Pilot Lindsay wins European Hot Air Balloon Championship

Meanwhile, at our Head Office, we took part in the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning in support of Macmillan Cancer Support.

Virgin-Balloon-Flights-Staff-Macmillan-Coffee-Morning October Operations technician, Roger Vint was selected as our ‘Star of the Year’ and celebrated in style at Holly and Sam Branson’s house, alongside Sir Richard himself! Meanwhile, back at Head Office, we all got pretty in pink as part of the Breast Cancer Campaign ‘wear it pink’ day.

Roger Vint at Virgin Star of the Year AwardsWear-it-pink-3

November Martin Chamberlain joined us for an airborne adventure from Wadhurst, Kent, and having won the hot air balloon ride over Kent through a photographic competition (sponsored by Canon), it’s no wonder he captured some amazing shots of the views below the basket. Shadows - packing away the hot air balloon by Martin Chamberlain December Nicola from Daffodil Waves photography was the judge for our pilot and crew photo competition and our passenger photo competition. Neil Marshall was chosen as the winner of our pilot and crew photo competition. Here is the winning snapshot: Balloon flying from Witton Castle, Durham by Neil Marshall The winner of our passenger competition was Kate Williams with this misty photo: Misty hot air balloon shot by Kate Williams Thanks to all of our pilots, crew, staff, customers, launch sites and partners for a fantastic year. Merry Christmas and we’re looking forward to a brilliant 2013!