Sir David Attenborough made a five-year-old’s day by replying to a letter the boy sent him after a visit to the star’s childhood home.
Ishaan Radia took a bike ride around Sir David’s childhood home on the Leicester University campus.
He then sent Sir David, 95, a letter along with several photos of College House.
Ishaan holds the letter he received from Sir David in front of the family home in Leicester
Ishaan’s mother, Priya Radia, 35, took the letter to school to open it in the car
Ishaan Radia, five, from Leicester, cycled around Sir David’s childhood home
In his letter to the naturalist, Ishaan said, “My name is Ishaan Radia. I am five years old and I attend the Fairfield Preparatory School in Loughborough.
“I have a book about you that I love. What is your favorite animal, book and flower?
‘I took a bike ride around your old house in Leicester. I did a show and told about you.’
Ishaan, who has a one-year-old brother named Rayaan, signed pictures of his favorite flower, the buttercup, at the bottom of his letter.
To Ishaan’s surprise, Sir David replied to the letter with the photographs.
Sir David said: ‘Thank you for your letter and for sending pictures of the house I lived in when I was your age.
“As soon as I looked at the pictures I knew it was my old house.”
Sir David’s letter arrived when Ishaan was at school, so his mother, Priya Radia, 35, took the letter to school to open it in the car.
Mrs. Radia said, “Ishaan was ecstatic. This was his very first letter addressed directly to him and being from David Attenborough it was a big moment for him.
“When he opened it, he was so excited and the tension was palpable.”
When Ishaan opened the letter, he said, “Mama, I can’t believe David Attenborough actually wrote back to me!”
Ms Radia and her husband Vishal Radia, 38, never thought Ishaan would get a response, as Sir David receives a lot of fan mail and is unable to answer them all.
Mrs. Radia said: ‘I really wanted to open it but my conscience and husband told me to leave Ishaan, it was addressed to him after all.
‘As a family we are very happy and the fact that it is handwritten made it that much more special. We’re going to frame it.’
Ishaan, who is on reception at Fairfield Preparatory School in Loughborough, was inspired by a biography of Sir David for young children called ‘Little People, BIG DREAMS – David Attenborough’.
‘Little People, BIG DREAMS’ is a series of books created by author Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara that explore the lives of extraordinary people.
Ms Radia said: ‘The first page stated that Sir David lived in Leicester and specifically on the campus of Leicester University. Ishaan immediately asked if we could come by.
Sir David said: ‘Thank you for your letter and for sending pictures of the house I lived in when I was your age’
Ishaan sent Sir David a letter along with some photos of his visit to the University House
Sir David’s childhood on the university grounds contributed to his early interest in the natural world, where he came into contact with archaeologist Jacquetta Hawkes and conservationist Gray Owl (Archibald Belaney)
‘A friendly university janitor directed us to where the house stood. While we were there, Ishaan said, “Mommy, I wish I could talk to him”.
“Of course this isn’t possible and so I replied ‘maybe write to him and he writes back’ without thinking for a minute that he would and hoping Ishaan would soon forget.”
Instead, Ishaan thought about what he might ask Sir David.
When he had finished writing the letter, Ishaan and his father walked to the letterbox.
Ms Radia said: ‘Receiving a letter from Sir David has greatly inspired Ishaan and taught him that anything is possible.
“It has also encouraged him to practice his writing skills.”
Sir David grew up in College House on the campus of Leicester University, where his father, Frederick, was principal.
When the Attenborough brothers first moved into the house, Richard was eight, David five and youngest brother John had just turned four.
Sir David’s childhood on the university grounds contributed to his early interest in the natural world, where he came into contact with archaeologist Jacquetta Hawkes and conservationist Gray Owl (Archibald Belaney).
The interior of College House no longer resembles the time when the Attenboroughs lived there, except for the main staircase.
There were plans to demolish the building in 2002 and 2008, but it survived and is now part of the Department of Mathematics