Tim Peake parade waiting for space agency to set date

Rufus Knight, nine, with Charles Osborne, Boultbee Flight Academy, who has offered to fly Tim Peake to Chichester in the two seater Spitfire.
Rufus Knight, nine, with Charles Osborne, Boultbee Flight Academy, who has offered to fly Tim Peake to Chichester in the two seater Spitfire.
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A Chichester schoolboy is a step closer to making his hero Tim Peake’s dream come true - although the big day is now likely to fall in 2017.

Oakwood pupil Rufus Knight first met the Chichester astronaut last November at London’s Science Museum and invited him to come home for a parade on his return from the International Space Station.

Having received a delighted ‘yes’, Chichester City Council (CCC) is organising the parade as part of Tim’s Freedom of the City celebrations.

The onus is now on the European Space Agency (ESA) to agree a date.

CCC town clerk Rodney Duggua has been assured by the ESA that Chichester is top of the pile once Tim’s schedule frees up.

Mr Duggua said: “We have had a long discussion and will be doing a Freedom Parade - we want to see handwaving Union Jacks by the thousand.

“We are in the starting blocks, ready to pull the plan together, and have already made substantial efforts.

“The event will be absolutely colossal and will focus on young people and the inspiration Tim Peake is giving them.”

Mr Duggua said, however, that the ESA will not be able to confirm a date until mid September this year.

“We had hoped for an offer of dates sooner rather than later, as it will be a very public event and would be better in late autumn rather than in the winter.

“The way things are going it’s more likely to be next year, as we need three months’ lead-in.”

Meanwhile, lucky Rufus encountered Tim again on July 15 at a ninth-birthday treat at Farnborough Airshow.

Spotted by Tim’s wife Rebecca amongst the 7,000 schoolchildren present, he was invited to a question-and-answer session with Tim.

Rufus also met Charles Osborne, general manager of Goodwood-based “Flying With Spitfires”, who has offered to fly Tim to Chichester in a two-seater Spitfire.

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