Shropshire Chamber of Commerce has welcomed high-flying business Virgin Balloon Flights as its latest Patron.

The company was launched back in 1994 in the wake of ‘ballooning mania’ following Sir Richard Branson’s record-breaking flights across the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

The world’s largest and the UK’s only national passenger balloon rides operator, the Telford-based company has now taken life higher for more than a million passengers.

Passenger hot air ballooning was grounded due to Covid-19 in 2020, but Virgin Balloon Flights has seen business rapidly take off once again since its balloons returned to the UK skies in May.

Matt Jones, managing director of Virgin Balloon Flights, said: “We are honoured and delighted to have been invited to join Shropshire Business Chamber as a Patron.

“Virgin Balloon Flights first launched back in 1994 and over the past 27 years have become the biggest and best-known passenger hot air balloon rides operator in the world.

“Our iconic big red balloons are a regular sight over Shropshire and across the country, where we have more than 100 launch sites over England, Wales and Scotland.

“Take Life Higher is not only our motto, it is our company’s ‘Purpose’, with everything we do aimed at bringing that pure joy and encouraging people to make the most of every moment.”

Maria Wilkinson, head of marketing for Virgin Balloon Flights, added: “Virgin Balloon Flights is a national company and an internationally recognised ballooning brand but the heart of our company is and always has been right here in Shropshire.

“We have had offices right here in Stafford Park since the beginning. We’re thrilled to have become a Patron and look forward to working closely with Shropshire Business Chamber, fellow patrons and members to promote the amazing business opportunities our county offers.

“We’re seeing such an amazing enthusiasm among our passengers to take to the skies with us this year, with a real ‘let’s get living again’ ethos after 18-months of Covid restrictions.

“It really is fantastic to see and has been a real boost to all our pilots, who are over the moon to be back in the air again after so long grounded.”

Mia Carter, Shropshire chamber of Commerce’s director of membership, said: “Being a Patron of Shropshire Chamber is a mark of excellence and integrity, and demonstrates a firm commitment to the Chamber, the wider business community and the success of Shropshire’s economy as a whole.

“Patrons understand and engage with one another and aim to identify opportunities, trade with and obtain introductions for and each other wherever possible.

“The objective is to generate ideas, enthusiasm and dynamic business opportunities and to feed this back through Shropshire Chamber and onwards to the county’s businesses as a whole.

“Through their attendance as Patrons at appropriate events, networking forums and business expos, they demonstrate their belief in the programme and through on-going membership they commit to maintaining the highest standards.”

More information about Shropshire Chamber’s Patron programme can be found at