Mission complete: Hayden meets ‘hero’ astronaut Tim Peake

A Limavady boy on a mission to meet his hero has had his dream come true by meeting astronaut, Tim Peake.

Hayden Geraghty, who attends Rossmar Special School in Limavady, has been wanting to meet the European Space Agency astronaut, Tim Peake, since he saw him on television last year.

Tim Peake sign's Hayden's helmet.

Tim Peake sign's Hayden's helmet.

Hayden’s mum, Caroline, said ever since her six-year-old son - who has autism - discovered Tim Peake, the change in her normally quiet little boy has been “unbelievable”.

Caroline shared her son’s dream to meet Tim Peake with the ‘Journal’ earlier this month and, last night, Hayden got his wish.

Not only did he and his mum get VIP seats in the Ulster Hall, but they also received approval from the UK Space Agency and NI Science Festival that Hayden would get to meet Tim.

Caroline said Tim’s mission on the International Space Station had such a positive impact on Hayden’s autism and ADHD, and she also wanted to shine a light on autism.

‘Hayden ran up to him and it was as if he knew him. It was magical.’

Hayden’s mum, Caroline

Hayden’s mum also got to ask Tim a question about his pet mouse, which he had in space with him.

“When he got the question asked he was over the moon and then one of the organisers from the festival brought him to meet Tim. Hayden ran up to him and it was as if he knew him. When Hayden connects with someone he gets very huggy,” said Caroline.

“It was magical. Hayden hugged him and got the ‘high five’ and then Tim Peake turned him around and signed his helmet. In the meantime, I got talking to astronaut, Tim Kopra, and he was so nice and down to earth and Hayden met him too. I told him about Hayden and he shook my hand and said ‘God bless you ma’am’. How it worked out it was fantastic.”

Caroline added: “Hayden got his mission and, for me, it was to create awareness of children with autism. When you have a child with autism and they connect with something, it can have a big impact on their development, so encourage it. Hayden was non-verbal until three years ago, and his connection with Tim Peake has really improved that. I can see it in school.”

Caroline added: “Hayden is one very happy little boy and one very proud mum I am.”

She also paid “massive heartfelt thanks’ to everyone involved “to make this magical moment happen”.