Portsmouth Scout group meet astronaut Tim Peake in Zoom call surprise visit

WITHOUT their usual camping trips or outdoor hikes, a Portsmouth Scout group has been meeting online during lockdown – and their commitment has been rewarded with an out-of-this-world visitor.

Thursday, 18th February 2021, 8:51 pm
Updated Friday, 19th February 2021, 6:10 pm

More than 30 children in the 8th Portsmouth Scout group had a surprise during a Zoom catch-up this evening – with astronaut Tim Peake joining the call as a special guest.

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.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Major Tim Peake made a special appearance during a Portsmouth Scout group's weekly Zoom catch-up. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

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.’

Astronaut appeared as a surprise guest during a Portsmouth Scout group's meeting.

Read More

Read More
Covid-19 rapid tests need a 30-minute turnaround to become practical, says chief...

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.’

More than 30 Scout members from across Portsmouth were able to ask questions to the famous astronaut.

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.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

You can subscribe here for unlimited access to Portsmouth news online - as well as fewer adverts, access to our digital edition and mobile app.

Our trial offer starts at just £2 a month for the first two months.