A CLASS of 26 children were given a surprise when they got to chat with British astronaut Major Tim Peake while he was in space.

The Year 7 class at St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, Cedar Road, Chorley, won a national competition run by Into Film after creating a space-themed movie.

Their short film was sent into space to be watched by Tim Peake on the International Space Station (ISS), the first opportunity of its kind ever.

The whole class, who won the national title for the five-11 age group, was invited to London to see the film in a cinema setting.

Prior to the screening a video message from Tim was played where he congratulated the winners, read out the name of St Joseph’s and afterwards addressed them via a satellite phone as the children crowded round.

Class teacher Mark Broomhead said: “They were thrilled to bits to visit London, and to actually be congratulated by Tim Peake was a massive surprise.

“He said he’d watched the film and had enjoyed it.

“It’s experiences like this that can inspire boys and girls to continue a passion for science and we’d like to thank Into Film for the opportunity.”

Tim Peake is the first UK government-sponsored astronaut to go to the ISS.

Nick Roden, deputy head at St Joseph’s, said: “The chance for the children to speak live with Tim Peake is certainly an experience and a half.

“We think the film is pretty amazing and only enhanced by the broad Chorley accents.

“The whole trip was funded by the school.

“We believe passionately that experiences both in and out of the classroom are one of the important aspects of learning for children today.

“The children were also afforded the chance to go behind the scenes at the Houses of Parliament courtesy of Chorley MP Lindsey Hoyle, where they were given a tour of both houses and took part in a question and answer session.

“The children also prepared letters for Nicky Morgan detailing the stresses and strains they and their close friends were put under during the end of Key Stage National Tests that they undertook only a week previously.”