Two high-flying Virgin Balloon Flights staff have been praised by Sir Richard Branson at a glitzy awards night in London.

Marketing Executive Kirsty Mills was shortlisted out of nominations from around the Virgin Group for Richard’s special community award for the Mandela Day campaign she organised earlier in the year.

And Customer Service Representative Ben Heathcote was voted Virgin Balloon Flights’ Star of the Year after recently winning the accolade of West Midlands Customer Champion from the National Institute of Customer Service.

Both enjoyed a fantastic presentation night at Virgin Limited Edition’s Kensington Roof Gardens Last month where they met Sir Richard and daughter Holly.

Kirsty, who lives near Wolverhampton, organised collections of cash and unwanted goods for charities such as Oxfam from colleagues and staff at other businesses, did a litter-pick to clean-up local green spaces, went on an office recycling drive and even made cup cakes to thank town firemen for their bravery. She also arranged a collection to buy food for women who were residents in a council safe house and spent an emotional afternoon meeting them and hearing their stories.

“The presentation night was incredible and meeting Sir Richard and his daughter Holly is something I’ll never forget. He’s a total inspiration and to think he was impressed with something I’ve done feels absolutely brilliant,” she said.

The eventual winner of the community award was a team from Virgin Holidays which collectively raised £189,000 for charity through Virgin Unite's Mission Possible campaign.

Ben, from Shrewsbury, said: “I’ve been at Virgin Balloon Flights for over four years and going that extra mile for customers has become second nature really. We work hard but we’ve got a great team and have a lot of fun, so winning these awards is a brilliant bonus.”

To speak to Ben and the team call 01952 212750 or visit for more information about our balloon flights.