BRITAIN'S first astronaut, Helen Sharman, is celebrating British Science Week by accepting the honour of becoming a Welcome to Yorkshire patron.

Helen, who is from Sheffield, spent eight days orbiting the Earth in May 1991 – and most of that time was on the Mir Space Station.

Yorkshire patrons are a distinguished group of high profile Yorkshire men and women who help Welcome to Yorkshire promote the region wherever they may be across the globe, or in this case, beyond!

Helen joins Yorkshire legends such as actor Patrick Stewart, journalist Michael Parkinson and the Yorkshire Dales Calendar Girls, as well as cricketer Ryan Sidebottom and rugby league star Rob Burrow who received the accolade at the White Rose Awards in October.

Helen said: “I am honoured and delighted to be a Yorkshire Patron.

"Having been born and bred in Yorkshire, the county is in my blood and I have no doubt the ‘can do’ attitude stood me in good stead during my astronaut training and in Space.

"Yorkshire is rich with its strong people and contrasting countryside and city life; it deserves to be shown off with pride.”

Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire Sir Gary Verity said: “Helen Sharman made history when she became the first British astronaut and we couldn’t be prouder to welcome her as a Yorkshire patron.

“Welcome to Yorkshire prides itself in showcasing our great county to the world; Helen has already gone a step further – by representing Yorkshire in Space – and we know she’ll do a stellar job helping us make sure the county continues to shine.”

British Science Week, run by the British Science Association, is a ten-day celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths, featuring entertaining and engaging events and activities across the UK for people of all ages.

It runs from March 9 18th.