Hawking’s girl takes Portsmouth Festivities kids on cosmic journey

CLOSE ENCOUNTER Lucy Hawking with pupils Maggie Antell, left, and Ellie Hayes who dressed up as two green aliens
CLOSE ENCOUNTER Lucy Hawking with pupils Maggie Antell, left, and Ellie Hayes who dressed up as two green aliens
Yousef Alam 6, Isabella Doyle 6, Halle Wellham 6, George McKechnie 6 and Isabel Manchip 6 with one of the islands they made out of papier mache

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PUPILS were transported out of this world when celebrated author Lucy Hawking gave a talk about space exploration.

The children’s writer and daughter of renowned physicist Stephen Hawking took youngsters at St John’s College in Southsea on a whirlwind tour of the cosmos, as part of the Portsmouth Festivities.

She opened her talk with a summary of her popular George series, co-authored with her dad, about a young boy who travels through space, before discussing real-life missions and the importance of finding another habitable planet for humans to live on.

Speaking at the event, Lucy said: ‘I’m delighted to be supporting the Portsmouth Festivities and I’ve had a wonderful time today.

‘Space is a great topic to open children’s minds and lead them to further study. When I was growing up science was just there and I took it for granted. Now I’m trying to share a bit of that privilege.’

Hawking’s visit came at the perfect time for the year seven and eight pupils who have just completed a major project on the solar system.

Olivia Gough, 12, said: ‘I found the talk amazing. Space is a fascinating subject because there are so many unknowns.

‘When Lucy said someone from our generation would be the first to walk on Mars I thought I’d love to be that person.’

Ellie Hughes, 12, took part in an opening sketch of two green aliens taking earthlings on a tour of the solar system.

She said: ‘I felt honoured to act in front of Lucy, who taught us so much about space.

‘It made me feel good when she played a message from Stephen Hawking wishing us luck on our cosmic journey.

‘I’d like to be an astronaut when I grow up.’

Matthew Round, science teacher, said: ‘Lucy’s been inspirational today.

‘Cosmology is not an obvious choice of subject to study so it’s great to meet such a talented author who makes it fun and accessible.’