Jess Bill and Nick CrosbyIt’s not uncommon to celebrate a birthday with balloons, but Jessica Bill celebrated her 24th aboard a 100 foot tall hot air balloon floating 3000 feet up in the sky.

Jess and boyfriend of two years, Nick Crosby, 29, from Gamston, took to the skies from Stoke Rochford Hall, in Grantham, Lincolnshire, in an iconic red Virgin balloon last week.

The sunrise voyage marked the achievement of a lifetime ambition for the couple, who bought the balloon ride vouchers for their first anniversary.

“We’ve both always wanted to go on a balloon flight. Everyone was great and really looked after us and, even though we met up at 6am on a freezing cold morning, they we really upbeat and fun. When we told them it was Jess' birthday they all started singing happy birthday to her, the rest of the passengers joined in too,” said Nick.

Jess added: “My favourite bit was the views, they were amazing and something I'll never forget. The champagne toast after we landed was great too.”

Travelling around eight miles to the east during the hour-long flight, the balloon landed land near Belvoir Castle before experienced pilot Martin Collinson presented Jess and Nick with their personalised flight certificates.

Martin, 46 from Grantham said “It was great to have Jessica and Nick on board, there’s something special about singing happy birthday in the open air over the countryside, it’s magical! After the snow we’ve had, a beautiful clear balloon ride was a special way to celebrate her day; I’m delighted they enjoyed it.”

The couple, who are due to be married in August next year, said they were now keen to experience another balloon ride as part of their honeymoon.

Balloon flights are available from sites across the UK including Nottingham from £117pp via www.virginballoonflights.co.uk or on 0844 844 8080.