IT’S not every day you get to ‘play Lego with the most powerful man in Britain’.
But that’s exactly what happened for this batch of aspiring young engineers in Gosport when they bumped into Boris Johnson during a maritime event in London.
The group of 10 Year 6 and Year 7 pupils, from Gomer Junior School and Bay House School, had been invited to a maritime careers event as part of London International Shipping Week.
As well as finding out about all the potential careers in Britain’s maritime sector, the children had a chance to speak to the PM – who was there to announce a £1.25bn deal to build five new Royal Navy frigates.
Jacob Jalban, a Year 7 pupil at Bay House School in Gosport, was among those to meet Mr Johnson on board the operational lighthouse boat NLV Pharos on the Thames.
The 11-year-old said: ‘We were all a bit shocked. We were all ushered around this table where there was a Lego ship.
‘Then Mr Johnson came over and started talking to us. He helped us to do a Lego task.
‘It was just so surreal playing Lego with the most powerful man in Britain.
‘We were all just buzzing from the experience afterwards. It was amazing.’
Isabelle Ricketts, 10, who is deputy head girl at Gomer Junior School, spoke to the prime minister about her idea of building a bridge from Gosport to the Isle a Wight.
She also urged Mr Johnson to consider setting up a national day to celebrate science, technology, engineering and maths.
Speaking of her chance meeting the PM, Isabelle said: ‘We were all a bit starstruck. He’s the most powerful man in the country. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience to meet him.’
Jacob added: ‘Before I met him I thought he would be quite self-centred. But he was quite down to earth, he is really nice to talk to.’
The children also spoke to defence secretary and shipbuilding tsar Ben Wallace and maritime minister Nus Ghani.
The Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) invited the pupils to the day. Anne-Marie Mountifield, Solent LEP chief executive, said it was a ‘brilliant opportunity’ to promote maritime careers to children from the region.
While Georgina Mulhall, executive head teacher at Gomer Junior School – which is part of the Gosport and Fareham Multi-Academy Trust with Bay House – said the event provided a ‘fantastic insight’ into the industry.