He loved every aspect of the flight, from getting involved in preparing the balloon for launch, the gentle take off and the stunning views once up in the air.

"And it was all thanks to the hard work of the pilot and crew team that made it happen," he said.

"It was very much a lightbulb moment and I knew this was something I wanted to dedicate myself to and actually fly myself."

Alex began as ground crew several years go for his local Virgin Balloon Flights pilot. He traded time as crew in exchange for gaining flight hours on a private hot air balloon, before eventually gaining his own private and then commercial balloon pilot licence.

"I completed my exam flight for my private pilots licence over the stunning Glastonbury Tor, which is one of my most treasured memories.

"I subsequently went on to complete my commercial pilot's licence exam flight in Mondovi, Italy with Virgin Balloon Flights' very own chief pilot Ken, who is a highly experienced instructor and examiner."

Alex went on to fly commercial passenger balloons in Canada before returning to the UK and joining Virgin Balloon Flights.

He will be taking passengers up, up and away over the North East and beautiful County Durham.

The sense of freedom when effortlessly floating through the air is what Alex loves most about hot air ballooning, along with sharing that love and passion for flying with his passengers.

"For passengers, it takes many people out of their comfort zone to experience a memory they will keep with them for the rest of their lives.

"I think everyone should experience a flight in a hot air balloon. It's unlike anything else you would normally experience. The freedom to float on the breeze and enjoy the natural beauty of the countryside really changes your perspective and is an adventure that will stay with you for many years to come."

Alex still has plenty of countries and places he wants to fly balloons in one day, including Kenya, Australia and California.

"I love flying around my home county of Dorset, as the area and people mean so much to me. When I was flying in Canada, watching the seasons change was incredible when you experience those rich 'fall' colours from the skies above."

Alex previously worked in IT before becoming a commercial balloon pilot, but now that he flies balloons for a living, his previous career has become his hobby

"I get to tinker around the computers in my spare time now."

Alex is very much looking forward to meeting and flying our County Durham passengers on an unforgettable balloon ride in the North East.