Page last updated at 17:58 GMT, Friday, 25 February 2011

Helen Skelton tells School Reporters that her mum does worry!

School Reporters in BBC Manchester studio
School Reporters enjoy interviewing Blue Peter presenter Helen Skelton

As the final preparations get underway for a terrifying tightrope walk at a famous London landmark, School Reporters find out how Helen Skelton is feeling about taking her first steps.

On 28 February, the Blue Peter presenter is attempting to be the first person to high-wire walk between the chimneys of Battersea Power Station, in aid of Red Nose Day 2011.

To set the world record, she will need to walk across an 18mm-thick piece of wire which is suspended 66 metres above the ground.

From a studio at BBC Manchester, School Reporters Cieran, Gemma and Donovan, all 13, and Abi, 11, asked Helen how her relatives feel about her doing another challenge.

She said: "My family are very supportive but I do think they worry... My mum bites her tongue because my family have asked her to stop saying stuff. And if she says don't do that... I am more likely to do it."

She told the young journalists from Oasis Academy MediaCity, in Salford, that she has been training for the challenge for months, helped by a family in France.

Cardboard bed

"I've been going backwards and forwards to France to learn to walk on the high-wire and then I've been getting up early to go to the gym to be really strong to hold the balance pole - it weighs 10kg. I have had to do a lot of upper-body exercises, which I thought were behind me after the kayaking... but sadly I was wrong!"

This time last year, Helen became the first person to solo kayak the Amazon.

Abi and Gemma interview Helen Skelton  'down the line'.
Abi and Gemma interview Helen Skelton 'down the line'

She spoke of a recent trip to Uganda where she saw a Comic Relief-supported project.

"I met a little boy in Uganda, Hamza, who was 11-years-old and who had been sleeping on the streets for two and a half years. He hated it. He was scared. He had no bed; he had a piece of cardboard by the side of a dual carriageway.

Presenter tips

"Thanks to a Comic Relief project, he was able to go to a school. He started sleeping at the school so he had somewhere safe to live. I have seen his life changing. I realised that the money that people give to Comic Relief really does make a difference."

Donovan, Cieran, Abi and Gemma ready to ask their questions.
Donovan, Cieran, Abi and Gemma ready to ask their questions

Before interviewing Helen, the School Reporters were given some expert training from the staff at BBC Manchester. They showed the pupils how to write good questions and be at ease in front of the microphone.

Donovan said: "The best thing I've learnt about being a radio presenter is how they work the machines - it's easy, and how they find breaking news by watching the TV's in the studio. The nerves go away when you start talking."

His classmate, Abi, learnt that "when you're speaking, it sounds better when you smile."



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