Brixham boat rescue boy's surprise visit from Blue Peter's Helen Skelton
BLUE Peter's star presenter Helen Skelton was a surprise visitor to a Brixham primary school, and she brought a special gift with her.
The popular host of the long-running children's TV show dropped in on Brixham Church of England primary to spring a surprise on 10-year-old Stuart Crang.
And that wasn't the only big surprise in a thrilling week for young Stuart.
He hit the headlines when he rowed his 8ft dinghy to the aid of two stranded sailors off Brixham in July.
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The couple were in trouble about half a mile off Fishcombe, and Stuart noticed their boat kept turning over.
He towed the couple back to shore, and his only worry was that he would be in trouble with his dad — Torbay RNLI lifeboat crew member Nigel Crang — for rowing too far out to sea.
Stuart's story — first told in the Herald Express — went worldwide, and came to the attention of the Blue Peter team, who decided the youngster was worthy of one of their coveted gold badges.
Other gold badge winners include JK Rowling, Tom Daley and the Queen.
Hidden cameras in the classroom recorded Stuart's surprise as the badge was presented and Helen Skelton took the time to meet other members of Stuart's class.
The day after the badge presentation, he travelled up to the RNLI's Poole headquarters to take the helm of the organisation's newest type of lifeboat, the Shannon class.
And on Friday he was given a Certificate of Valour by Brixham harbour master, Captain Paul Labistour.
Nigel said: "The day after Helen Skelton came to the school, the RNLI invited us up to Poole.
"They let Stuart loose with one-and-a-half-million pounds worth of Shannon Class lifeboat, the newest boat they have.
"They got him to drive it straight up the beach, which it can do because it has water jets in place of propellors.
"He was just beaming all over his face!"
The RNLI gave Stuart, his dad, mum Cheryl and sister Marisa a look around their facilities including the pool where they test self-righting craft.
Nigel said: "Stuart definitely wants to follow me and volunteer for the RNLI now.
"He says he's only got just over six years to wait.
"It was a very proud moment. We were up at the RNLI college, and everyone was coming over to see Stuart and shake his hand."
See all the pictures from Stuart's big week at www.thisissouthdevon.co.uk