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  1. ITV Report

Ground control to Major William! Teddy returns from adventures in space

A teddy bear blasted into space by pupils at Pocklington Prep School has returned home battered but with some thrilling footage from his adventure into the stratosphere.

The bear, known as Major William Wilberforce, soared 22 miles above Earth beneath a helium weather balloon, before plummeting back down.

The school has used remarkable footage from Major William’s onboard selfie cam to make a short film of his heroic journey.

A failure in his GPS tracking system meant he lay unnoticed in a field in Raywell, west of Hull, for 50 days, until being spotted by farmer Richard Thompson, who happens to be a former Pocklington School pupil.

I spotted the little teddy bear and his parachute as I was about to go over it with the combine. When I read the labels and realised he was from my old school, it was quite a surprise.

I’m glad he landed in my field because he could easily have landed somewhere inaccessible and never been seen again. I was pleased to be able to get him back to the school.

– Richard Thompson

Major William lost a leg during his adventure and literally had the stuffing knocked out of him, but a visit to a 'teddy doctor' and the delivery of a bespoke crutch patched him up, and he’s now looking forward to his next adventure.

Our pupils were so excited to hear Major William had survived to tell the tale. We had a worrying few weeks when transmission was lost, so there was huge relief that he, and his footage, survived.

The space project has inspired real enthusiasm in the children. They were involved in every step of the mission’s preparation and to see it come to fruition so successfully is invaluable educationally.

– Patrick Allen, Pocklington Prep School’s Head of ICT and 'Mission Controller'

Major William himself has been inspired by the triumphs of Paralympians and already has his sights set on flying in a glider, swimming with sharks and abseiling.

You can watch Major William's full flight below: