Portsmouth Scout group meet astronaut Tim Peake in Zoom call surprise visit
and live on Freeview channel 276
A Scouting ambassador since 2017, Tim made an appearance to reward the commitment of the group’s young members, who have missed out on a normal year of outdoor activities due to the pandemic.
As well as sharing stories from his six-month stint onboard the International Space Station, the Chichester-based astronaut praised the group for supporting each other during multiple lockdowns.
The University of Portsmouth graduate said: ‘I know it’s been a real struggle in lockdown.
‘Everyone listening tonight is in the right place – this group is going to help you realise your potential.’
Encouraging the group to look forward to activities after the pandemic, he added: ‘Living on the south coast of England, there is so much to do.
‘Whether it’s water sports, or hiking in the South Downs – it’s all about being with friends and enjoying yourself.’
Major Tim shared his love of night hikes across the South Downs after being asked about his favourite outdoor activity by Lucas Gilkes, from Southsea.
The nine-year-old said: ‘My mum said there would be a surprise – but I didn’t think it would be that great.
‘My granddad had just sent me a book by Major Tim.’
Danielle Gilkes, Lucas’s mum and one of the group’s leaders, said the special guest was a much deserved reward after a challenging year for the group.
The Grayshott Road resident said: ‘It’s a such an amazing opportunity during lockdown when they can’t see their friends.
‘The look on some of their faces was amazing.
‘We have had no camping. We went out to Canoe Lake once. But we had three or four camping trips booked for last year. So for some of our children they have missed out on the usual Cubs experience – it’s really sad.
‘We have worked tirelessly to keep the children engaged. And some of the children say the Zoom calls are keeping them going, which is really nice to hear.’