A DURSLEY balloonist and his partner have scooped first prize in a competition to see who can fly the farthest in a single flight within the confines of the UK.

Pilot Thomas Lee and co-pilot Holly Skiplorne, who lives in Buckinghamshire, flew from Anglesey to Newbury; a distance of 180 miles - in eight and a half hours as part of the Great British Long Jump.

The couple picked up their trophy on Sunday, after making their epic journey in October.

Thomas said: “It’s something I’ve been working towards for a few years, having entered twice in the last three years.

“There’s so much to deal with, everything from the correct weather, to dealing with air traffic control during the flight. A combination of these factors have always cut my flights shorter in previous years, but this year, things seemed to work out for us.”

Thomas and Holly made the flight in the Renishaw balloon, kindly loaned to them by Exclusive Ballooning.

During the trip Thomas fulfilled a long held ambition to fly over Snowdon.

“It was so incredible to see Snowdonia below us,” said Holly.

“Snowdon itself was shrouded in cloud but it didn’t matter, we knew it was right there next to us.

“We seemed to follow a gap in the clouds that appeared to have been made just for us. It was beyond spectacular.”

Thomas added: “A huge thank you to everyone who helped us pull this off, in whichever way, big or small, you all helped.

“Particular thanks to our good friend Jeremy Hinton who retrieved for us and to Andrew Holly for the very generous loan of the Renishaw balloon, without which we couldn’t have flown.”