A science event at Eckington School has exceeded expectations by attracting around 200 local people for a night of space exploration.
This was the first time that the secondary school had hosted the ‘Space Rocks’ night, having been previously organised by Eckington Town Team at the village Civic Centre.
Activities included virtual reality headsets, a planetarium and talks from four speakers – who each covered different aspects of space, including the solar system and the benefits of spaceflight on earth.
Organiser and Senior Science Technician Andy Shelton was anticipating around 50 people to turn up, however this was eclipsed almost as soon as the event began.
He said: “I think it’s been very successful. It’s exceeded what I anticipated. I did not expect this amount of people.
“It’s gone nine o’clock now and there’s people still here talking, so we must’ve done something right.”
Doors opened at 6pm, with the first of the talks starting half an hour later. A number of students at the school also volunteered their time to help, hosting activities and showing visitors to each of the attractions.
Mr Shelton praised the children for their efforts, saying: “I couldn’t ask anymore of those kids. They’ve acted responsibly and not messed about and that’s been great.”
Another Technician, Jane Noble, spoke about the guest speakers: “These people seem to love their subject so much. It’s always inspiring to hear them talk about it.”
Vix Southgate talks to people about the spacesuit.
Children queue up to try virtual reality.
A series of telescopes are placed on the field to look at the moon.
Education Manager at the National Space Centre, Chris Darby, hosts one of the talks.
Planetarium Manager Steve Ibbotson talks to the audience before they head inside.
Hot drinks and a selection of biscuits were sold as refreshments.
Alongside this, a series of telescopes were also placed on the field towards the back of the school and a spacesuit was brought along for people to examine.
This featured as part of Vix Southgate’s presentation. She said: “It’s about giving kids experiences that they can remember that aren’t the same as they get on a day to day basis at school.
“I’ve been extremely surprised at how many people have come. It’s been a lovely surprise.”
Solvejg Cowie took her two children along and said: “I think it inspires new ideas, because it’s not something they’d necessarily do in a school curriculum.”
“It’s good that they opened it to the younger kids, too.”
Eckington Parish Council’s Charlotte Mitchell was there as a parent and said: “I think it’s important that, even though it’s a learning experience, it’s a fun experience and it’s something for them to be inspired by.
“It’s nice that the parents actually want to bring their children to something that’s not just entertainment, but educational.”