Pupils from Warlingham Village Primary School had an out of this world experience recently when they were invited to a talk by Britain’s first astronaut, Dr Helen Sharman.
The youngsters from Years Four, Five and Six were part of the audience for the event held at Caterham School, and were given a fascinating insight into Dr Sharman’s experiences when she went into orbit on the Soviet space station in 1991, at the age of 27.
“Dr Sharman’s story is absolutely amazing, so the children were fascinated – you’ve never heard a roomful of youngsters make so little noise!,” said teacher Helen Swallow, who accompanied the pupils at the event.
“She told them how she first got involved by hearing an advert on the radio for people to volunteer, and was picked from 13,000 applicants. She also explained all the aspects of her training regime, the experiments she conducted and talked about everyday life on the space station, like how they managed sleeping and eating. It was quite remarkable to hear.”
After the talk, children from Warlingham Village, a member of the GLF Schools multi-academy trust which runs more than a dozen schools across the south east of England, had an opportunity to have their photo taken with Dr Sharman, for a lasting souvenir of a memorable day.
“She really was an inspiring speaker,” said Mrs Swallow. “Her message was that children should try to follow their dreams and aim as high as they can in life. After all, who aims higher than someone who gets to go into space!”
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