Camelsdale schoolchildren win out-of-this-world sleepover at The Novium Museum

School children from Camelsdale Primary School blasted off to an out-of-this-world experience after winning the Tim Peake exhibition sleepover competition run by The Novium Museum in Chichester.

Youngsters aged 7 to 11 across the South East were challenged to use their imagination and write about their 'Dream Space Job' to win a sleepover for their whole class in The Novium Museum's brand new Tim Peake exhibition. Ten sleepovers have been funded by a grant from the UK Space Agency.

A panel of experts including the museum's learning team, the European Space Agency and even Tim Peake's parents, Nigel and Angela Peake, helped to pick the winners from over 600 entries.

Year 5 pupil, Oscar, won the sleepover for his entire class by writing about his 'Dream Space Job' of building and setting up the "best space hotel on Mars", with lots of different exciting rooms including an ice room, a gravity room and a pizza room.

His class was able to explore the museum after dark, took part in a special space treasure hunt, built their own rocket, played games and enjoyed a special bed time story before settling down to sleep beneath the stars.

The other winning schools are:

  • St. Mary's Bentworth Primary School;

  • Lavant Primary School;

  • Duncton Junior School;

  • Crofton Anne Dale Junior School;

  • Shelley Primary School;

  • Compton and Up Marden Primary School;

  • North Heath Primary School;

  • Wonersh and Shamley Green Primary School; and

  • Queens Park Academy.

The Tim Peake exhibition, which is free, is now open and takes visitors on a space journey that follows Tim Peake's astronomical adventure - from growing up in Chichester to becoming the first British European Space Agency astronaut.

The exhibition got the approval of Tim when he popped in for a surprise visit last week: "It's fantastic to be back here in my home town of Chichester and to be here at the wonderful exhibition at The Novium Museum. I am absolutely delighted - you've done an absolutely wonderful job so thank you so much."

He particularly liked the museum's rocket lift saying: "I think it is absolutely inspired."

"It's been great to see how local children have been inspired by Tim's mission," says Councillor Gillian Keegan, Cabinet Member for Commercial Services at Chichester District Council. "Encouraging children to get involved with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects is a key aim for the council so it is fantastic to see how the message has resonated with people across the South."

"We've had over 600 fantastic entries from schools across the South and it's been a tough time for our panel to narrow this down to just ten winners," says Cathy Hakes, Manager of The Novium Museum and Tourist Information Centre. "We hope Oscar and his class had a fantastic time at their sleepover and I encourage anyone who hasn't visited the exhibition to come and celebrate Tim's achievements with us."

The exhibition is supported by strategic sponsors, Air Products, Irwin Mitchell Private Wealth and Vanderbilt Homes.

The Novium Museum is owned and operated by Chichester District Council.