On cloud nine as Fareham couple get engaged in a hot air balloon

The engagement ring.
The engagement ring.

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Dreams really do come true and that was certainly the case for two childhood sweethearts from Fareham.

Josh Astley and Abbie Fletcher, both 21 and from Titchfield, were on cloud nine after getting engaged on a Virgin hot air balloon ride over the Welsh countryside earlier this month.

Josh Astley and Abbie Fletcher on their hot air balloon ride.

Josh Astley and Abbie Fletcher on their hot air balloon ride.

The sky-high activity is something Abbie had always wanted to do, so boyfriend Josh thought it would be the perfect way to propose.

It was an extra-special day for Abbie, who was also celebrating her 21st birthday.

Abbie said: ‘When Josh first told me we were going on a hot air balloon ride I did wonder if he might propose.

‘But then as we were on the minibus to go to the launch I was so excited, it had completely slipped my mind.

‘It was a big surprise when he asked me and I got very emotional.’

Josh said: ‘Abbie had always dreamt of flying in a hot air balloon, it’s something she’s always wanted to do.

‘It was romantic and different, which I thought she’d really like.’

The childhood sweethearts went to Crofton Secondary School in Fareham together and started dating around four years ago.

Josh had planned to propose to Abbie as the balloon was coming in to land, but found an even better moment when they had a breathtaking view of the sun rising.

He said he didn’t get nervous about proposing until he actually got down on one knee in the basket.

‘We could see the sun lighting up this sea of cloud and I just knew that was the moment,’ he said.

‘I didn’t even think about it, it just kind of happened.

‘We’ve had a lot of happy memories together and she is not only my partner, but she’s also my best friend and the mother of our little boy Declan who is eight weeks old.

‘Although I didn’t feel nervous, the second I got on one knee I started getting the shakes in my hands.’

The couple hope to be married by next summer but have not set a date yet.