One of P&O Cruises’ ‘food heroes’ – pâtissier Eric Lanlard – has talked about his dream to follow Richard Branson into space.
Eric, whose afternoon tea will be a feature of new ship Iona, posted pictures of himself in Virgin Galactic uniform on business social media site LinkedIn.
He wrote: ‘In 2008 I signed up to Virgin Galactic – it didn’t take too much convincing because since childhood I have been fascinated by space travel, adventure and exploration, reading avidly books like the Voyages Extraordinaires of Jules Verne or even Tintin’s mission to the moon and watching French TV documentaries from Paul-Émile Victor or Jacques Cousteau – and, of course, every single space shuttle going up and landing and following every step to the first French rocket Ariane project.
‘I have been very lucky through my life to tick off so many of my dreams but I never thought that travelling to space would be achievable in my lifetime.
‘Now, in less than two weeks, two successful flights to space have taken place, making my dream a serious reality. I thought it would be the perfect time to share this picture of me wearing Richard’s own space suit during the reveal event in New York. Each bespoke suit is designed by Under Armour and I am planning to have mine with the French and UK flags. Never give up on your dreams.’
Eric, who describes himself as ‘master pâtissier and owner of Cake-Boy Ltd, author, TV presenter and future Virgin Galactic astronaut’, was among 120 space tourists who joined Sir Richard in a photo op at Farnborough Air Show in 2012.
He was originally on flight 30 but he is now waiting to hear when he’ll be able to fly. Eric told The Times: ‘When I received the email that announced that Richard was going up, that was exciting and it all became very real. I was so stressed out before watching it but it was nicely done and I did not have any anxiety. If Richard can do it, we can all be confident that we can do it.’