Barely 50 years after the USSR and USA first put a human into space, the UK yesterday finally achieved the same giant leap in rocket technology - when 97 year old Edith Pickles became the first British astronaut put into permanent orbit by a wholly British designed, built and owned vehicle.
"As far as we can ascertain, Mrs Pickles was on her stairlift when a gas explosion ignited in her house in Dorking." said Astrophysicist Professor Lindy Cox. "A heady cocktail of the original gas explosion and the butane propellent supply under her seat - plus a powerful biochemical cocktail in Mrs. Pickles' colostomy and urinary incontinence bags have somehow unleashed an enormous propulsion effect which accelerated her to the 18,000 mph needed to escape the earth's gravity."
"It was like that scene from the end of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory." said neighbour and eyewitness to the impromtu launch, Ernest Hodkiss. "There was a huge explosion and 'Whoosh', she went straight through the roof in her chair and shot up into the sky like a bullet."
Dr. Helen Sharman, first Briton in space aboard a Soviet Soyuz in 1991, was full of admiration for the plucky Mrs. Pickles. "Amazing. Edith had the 'Right Stuff' from the sounds of it. The 'stuff' being an explosive mix thousands of times more powerful than conventional Lox (rocket fuel)."
The national press have already named the British space-craft 'Brown Streak' with tributes pouring in from around the world hailing the intrepid spirit of the Surrey senior citizen.
PM David Cameron issued this statement " Yet again we see the strength of British expertise and private enterprise come to the fore. It's one small step for a stairlift, one giant Stairway to Heaven. Edith, we salute you. Wherever you are."
Amateur astronomers with medium-sized telescopes in the South of England will be able to see Mrs Pickles and 'Brown Streak' in the Western skies, close to Uranus transit and Cassiopea, tomorrow night at 23:47 GMT...