Meet Brian the Lion: Wigan pupils’ new mascot as he orbits the earth on a weather balloon!
The cuddly toy from Westleigh Methodist Primary spent 90 minutes floating through the stratosphere 20km above us after a dramatic “launch” for the schools new values - Aspire, Believe, Achieve.
Named after esteemed physicist Brian Cox, the stuffed animal had a camera with him and so was able to a selfie with the curvature of the earth’s surface behind him.
He returned to earth later that day, landing safely in a field near Middlesbrough and is now back home in Leigh.
Headteacher Xanthe Moragrega said: “The launch was an amazing sight for all the staff and pupils.
“It was a once in a lifetime experience and I am so delighted that everyone got the chance to take part.
“The most rewarding part of the day was seeing all the pupils count down and cheer in excitement as they saw their mascot take flight.”
The launch was made possible thanks to the generous support of a group of local businesses who support the education sector; Diddu Communications, Satis Education, Cook Lawyers and Design-Inc. The mascot was created by Bear in Mind Keepsakes.
Julie-ann Hewitt, CEO of the Acorn Trust, said: “It was simply fantastic – and what a way to mark the end of an amazing year.
“The school has received letters from Government ministers recognising the progress our children are making.
“We were down to the last few schools in the country for the Primary School of the Year Award at the Pearson Teaching Awards that was on BBC2 – and now we have a new vision and mascot that is quite literally taking the school to a whole new level!”
The adventure may remind readers of pub chain boss Tony Callaghan’s propelling the first pastry dish into space on a helium balloon three years ago to promote the Wigan Pie-Eating Championships.