Colonel Peake, who trained to fly helicopters in Shropshire at RAF Shawbury, landed a Juno helicopter in the centre circle at the Shrewsbury Town ground – hopping out to deliver the match-ball to chairman Roland Wycherley ahead of his club’s clash with Morecambe.
The event was part of Armed Forces Match Day and ahead of the kick off the ground hosted a number of forces activities and stalls including the Rifles, 101 Battallion Reme, The Army, The Army Medical Services, and the Army Cadets.
Decked out in camouflage the stalls featured representatives from the armed forces, as well as weapons – including a bazooka, and a special ‘reaction test’ for those brave enough to step up.
As the 3pm kick off approached the pitch was cleared and the packed stadium watched on as a blue and yellow helicopter appeared out of the grey mizzle-ridden sky, touching down exactly in the centre circle.
As Colonel Peake stepped out and delivered the ball to the touchline, the helicopter rapidly exited the scene, departing over the South Stand, leaving its famous passenger to enjoy a comfortable 3-1 home victory from the director’s box.
Fittingly ahead of touching down the club had – whether intentionally or not – delivered a playlist including Queen’s ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’, one of the songs reportedly selected by Colonel Peake to play as he blasted off for the International Space Station in the Soyuz spacecraft.
At half time the Colonel had the honour of picking out the number for the winner of the golden ball draw – ensuring the winner went home £530 better off.
He was also presented with his own Shrewsbury Town home shirt by the Chairman.
Quizzed on how the landing at the ground had differed to coming back from space Colonel Peake told the crowd it was “definitely softer than the one I had when I came down from space – no doubt”.
Asked about who he supported the Colonel was savvy enough to dodge the question, making it clear Salop were not his first footballing love.
The event was only the first stage of a busy Shropshire weekend for the astronaut who will be speaking at two sold out talks at Theatre Severn tomorrow (SUNDAY, MARCH 12).