Students at Fearnhill School in Letchworth have been treated to a visit from Helen Sharman, Britain’s first astronaut.

She became the first Western European woman to enter space when she joined the Soviet Soyuz TM-12 Mission in 1991, and is now an outreach ambassador for Imperial College London.

Excitement levels at the school rocketed as Helen spoke about her experiences in space, and urged students to consider studying STEMM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths and Medicine) at university.

She said: "It was a delight to talk to the students about STEM careers and university. The students kept me on my toes with some great questions and I enjoyed touring the school. There was a friendly and engaged buzz everywhere I went. Thank you to the science team for arranging the day!”

The Comet: Headteacher Liz Ellis (right) with Helen SharmanHeadteacher Liz Ellis (right) with Helen Sharman (Image: Fearnhill School)

Students were over the moon to be able to meet the astronaut, and headteacher Liz Ellis said that the “visit caused major excitement at Fearnhill. For the students to be able to speak directly to an astronaut was a real privilege.

"We hope it will inspire more Fearnhill students to believe they can ‘reach for the stars’ - maybe even literally! Careers information and guidance is really important and this visit has helped students see the wide range of possibilities open to them across many industries.

"It was a pleasure to welcome Helen and we hope she will visit us again in the future."