In a sign that perhaps no matter how far you travel, you never forget your roots, minutes after the landing of Virgin Galactic’s rocket plane on July 11, former Clevedon School student Colin Bennett revealed he had carried his former school’s flag on his journey into space with Sir Richard Branson.

The journey saw Virgin Galactic soar 53 miles above Earth, taking it into the distance recognised by the US Federal Aviation Administration as the edge of space, thus earning any passenger the award of astronaut wings.

Lead Engineer for Virgin Galactic, and also ‘Astronaut 003’ for the epic voyage, Colin Bennett said, “The school was kind enough to send me the flag to take up there with me. It was a huge honour to do that. Looking forward to sending it back to them with some pictures.”

After safely landing, Colin shared with Clevedon Living magazine that Virgin Galactic has more than one connection to Clevedon, with the company’s head of communications also hailing from the town.

Colin attended Clevedon School between 1996 and 2003, and cited Clevedon School physics teacher Andy Davis, who still teaches at the school, as someone who had inspired him and helped him on his career path. The flag Colin carried with him bears the school’s motto of ‘Be Kind be Brilliant’ and once it makes its way back to the school will be put on display to act as inspiration to others to reach for the stars. To mark Colin’s career achievements, Clevedon School recently named its science block, The Colin Bennett Science Centre.

Colin added, “It’s been really lovely and kind of overwhelming to see all the messages of support from back home and a real honour to have the block named after me.

“It’s about inspiring the next generation and to show kids and anyone who has dreams of this type of thing, that it is possible. Anyone can do it.”


Former Clevedon School student Colin Bennett was Lead Engineer for Virgin Galactic and Astronaut 003 for the epic voyage
Colin was inspired by his physics teacher Andy Davis (centre) who still teaches at Clevedon School