Apollo 16's Charlie Duke on the Moon

Image courtesy of NASA

It was with great sadness that I heard Neil Armstrong had passed away. I never had the chance to meet him, but he still had an impact on my life. Mine and many others. I was very moved to hear Buzz Aldrin’s words and memories of Neil at this year’s International Astronautical Conference in Naples. It all still feels a bit unreal. Someone who has always been there, will always be a key part of history, and now they’re gone. Memories of the Moon are slipping through our fingers.

Only 12 people ever walked on the Moon, only eight are still with us. Only eight living beings have set foot on a celestial body other than our own. So what if I told you there was a chance to meet one of them? Here, on a rare visit to the UK?

Well you can. Charles “Charlie” Duke, the tenth man to step foot on the moon, is giving a talk next weekend (20th October 2012) in Pontefract, West Yorkshire. Why Pontefract? Well there’s a nice chap called Ken Willoughby who thinks it’s important for school children to hear from these inspirational astronauts (it is), and over the years he’s been persuading them to come over and share their stories. These events are free for the school kids, and paid for by the sale of tickets to the public. So for £30, not only can you get a once in a lifetime chance to hear from one of a (sadly) decreasing number of people that’s been on the Moon, but you can also feel good about the fact you’re allowing the children of Wakefield this extraordinary opportunity too. What’s more, Charlie Duke will sign one autograph for each person at the lecture. Normally when Apollo astronauts sign autographs it’s at charity signing events and their signatures will set you back far more than the ticket price of this event.

This really is an opportunity not to be missed. I mean if that isn’t enough to tempt you – just listen to this short clip of Charlie Duke talking about being on the Moon. What’s not to love?

The event starts at 6pm at Carleton Community High School, Pontefract, West Yorkshire. You can book your ticket in advance by emailing Ken Willoughby or calling him on 01977 795 535 or buy them at the door. Do let him know heard about this on

There is also an option to have lunch with Charlie Duke. A limited number of tickets are for sale at £60 each for lunch at the King’s Croft Hotel from 12.30pm-2.30pm on Saturday 20th October.

If you do decide to go, and happen to be driving from London, please let me know as I’m not sure I can afford the trains at the moment. I really don’t want to miss this though – and neither should you!

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