Spaceman sprinkles a bit of stardust in Leeds visit

Dr Michael Foale being interviewed by media studies students at Elliott Hudson College in Leeds during his visit. Picture by Gary Longbottom.
Dr Michael Foale being interviewed by media studies students at Elliott Hudson College in Leeds during his visit. Picture by Gary Longbottom.
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An out of this world visitor has shone on a light on space travel by taking up a mission to visit students at a Leeds college.

Around 200 science students were treated to an intergalactic presentation, question-and-answer session and meet and greet with retired British-born NASA astronaut Dr Michael Foale at Elliott Hudson College, in Beeston, today.

Dr Michael Foale talking with media studies students at Elliott Hudson College in Leeds. Picture by Gary Longbottom.

Dr Michael Foale talking with media studies students at Elliott Hudson College in Leeds. Picture by Gary Longbottom.

The 59-year-old astrophysicist, who was the first Briton to perform a spacewalk, stopped by in a bid to inspire young people to strive to do better and show those who have had setbacks that they can bounce back.

Sixth form and secondary school students from the college as well as Morley Academy, Farnley Academy, Ruth Gorse Academy and Bruntcliffe Academy joined forces to quiz the Lincolnshire-born pioneer.

Will Carver, director of faculty of science at the college, said: “It was an absolutely amazing experience for our students. What they heard about was Michael’s inspirational journey to become an astronaut.

“He decided when he was very young what he wanted to do as he was fascinated with space and sci-fi, and he kept going despite setbacks – it was an important message for any young person to hear.”

Dr Foale, who moved to America after graduating university to join NASA, spent more than 374 days in space. He retired in 2013.

Elliott Hudson College, which is run by the Gorse Academies Trust, opened with places for more than 1,000 students aged 16 to 19 in September. The college is currently situated in former Environment Agency building Phoenix House.

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