Columnist Norman Chapman, president of the Rotary Club of Fareham, talks about the recent visit to the club of Nigel Peake, the father of astronaut Major Tim Peake
The Rotary Club of Fareham was happy to welcome a very special guest speaker at our meeting.
We were privileged to be joined by Nigel Peake.
Does the name Peake sound familiar?
Well this could be because Nigel Peake is the father of astronaut Major Tim Peake, and comes from the village of Westbourne, which is on the border between Hampshire and West Sussex.
Major Tim is the first British European Space Agency astronaut and the second astronaut to bear a British flag patch.
He is the sixth person born in the United Kingdom to go on board the International Space Station and the seventh UK-born person in space.
Bringing us a unique perspective on Tim’s achievements, just four months after Tim’s return to earth, Nigel explained just what it meant to watch his son blasting into space towards the International Space Station.
He explained to his attentive audience that Tim had enjoyed a normal childhood which included Cubs, the local choir and the Combined Cadet Force, in Chichester.
He was ‘just a normal lad’, said Nigel.
He watched his son achieve his initial aim of being a helicopter pilot in the Army Air Corps, and later a test pilot.
Nigel told us that Tim saw an advert on the internet saying ‘astronauts wanted’, with many thousands applying.
We all know the rest.
We heard the stories of his training and preparation for the launch, Tim’s time in space, running the London marathon on the International Space Station on a treadmill, and the so-called soft landing.
When asked if Tim had been worried about going off to space he responded that his son had been much more concerned about not going into space at all.
Thank you Nigel, you were a super speaker and we appreciated hearing the stories behind the headlines.
Looking at those photos, they truly were out of this world.