Fundraiser and YouTube personality hoping to become Ilford’s very own Rocket Man

PUBLISHED: 16:41 07 October 2015 | UPDATED: 16:49 07 October 2015

Hussain Manawer is one of three finalists in a competition which will send someone into space

Hussain Manawer is one of three finalists in a competition which will send someone into space


A 24-year-old could be on his way to infinity and beyond after reaching the final three of a unique competition.

Hussain Manawer, from Ilford, said it “hasn’t sunk in” yet that he is a finalist for the Rising Star Programme, which will catapult one lucky person onto the global stage – and into space.

The winner will fly among the stars in the XCOR Lynx spacecraft.

Hussain said: “It is overwhelming, so many people have been messaging me and congratulating me.

“I’m just a normal guy from Ilford. It’s not even something you can dream about – it’s like something you see in movies.”

Hussain, who applied along with thousands of others, after seeing a link on Twitter, was chosen as a finalist after judges were impressed by a video in which he shared what drives him to pursue community work and raise funds for good causes.

In November, he will fly out to Bangkok, Thailand, to take to the stage at the One Young World Summit, where he will speak on a subject he is passionate about.

For Hussain, this will be mental health.

“Some of us are going through some depressing stuff,” he said. “I think we all know people that are going through it or have gone through it.

“I feel we’re taught how to deal with our physical self, but not our mental one.”

Following the speeches, a panel of figures from the worlds of entertainment, business and media will pick the winner of the initiative, run by talent agency Kruger Cowne, One Young World and Spaceship Earth Grants.

Over the last few years, Hussain, who has interviewed celebrities such as American actor and comedian Kevin Hart on his YouTube channel, has travelled to Botswana to help build a school, carried the Olympic Torch and climbed Mount Kilimanjaro to support the victims of flooding in Pakistan.

“I just think we’re all fortunate to be born here and living here,” he said. “Obviously there are issues in our country – there are issues everywhere – but there are people out there who aren’t fortunate like us and we all need to play our part to make the world a better place.”

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