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A Visitor from Space!

The teachers on Piam Brown would like to extend a huge thank you to Helen Sharman who joined us this morning for our 10 O’Clock Slot.

This year Helen celebrates 30 years since being the first Briton to go into space on board a rocket and join up with the Mir Space Station. She chatted to 16 of the children and their families on the ward and at home via Zoom. The children were bursting with curiosity and questions for Helen were coming in thick and fast.

She told us how, as a chemist working at Mars developing ice cream flavours, she beat 13,000 other people in a competition to become an astronaut. She had heard the competition announcement on the radio, while driving her car one day! She described her 18-month pre-training programme in Star City, Russia; life on board the space station including the experiments she carried out while there and the food she ate; hot chocolate being her favourite drink!

The 10 O’Clock Slot is a new initiative for children being treated on the Piam Brown ward, run by the Hospital School. This term our themes include America’s Cup week, Space Fortnight and Explorers. Since the launch, only last Tuesday, we have carried out science experiments, tried our hand at origami, listened to a message to the ward from Sir Ben Ainsley and of course today, chatted to Helen, a real live astronaut!