A WANNABE astronaut is appealing for votes in a competition to take a once in a lifetime trip to space.

Tom Lay, 20, who works at Toolstation in Express Park, is competing for the chance to go up 103km into space with space tourism company Spacexc.

The competition, launched by deodorant brand Lynx and Buzz Aldrin, the second man on the moon, will see 22 winners from across the globe take a trip on the Lynx SXC (Space Expedition Corporation) space shuttle - scheduled for lift off next year.

Tom told the Mercury: “It’s always been my lifelong dream. I’d like to do it not just for me, but in memory of my dad, who passed away when I was 14.

“We’d watch hours of documentaries on the planets, stars, solar systems and read about the theories behind it all.

“I was about six years old when my dad bought me a ‘fact finder’ which had details on each of the planets and I would express with him my dream to become an astronaut.”

Tom hopes to swap his tool belt for a space helmet by rallying enough votes to join 200 people who will go forward to the National Challenge for the UK and Ireland held at a secret location in London.

He will be put through physical and mental challenges to assess if he has what it takes.

The winners of the National Challenge will travel to Orlando, Florida, to take part in the final selection process – Global Space Camp.

Contestants will go head to head in three training missions. They will take a flight in an L-39 Albatross MKII jet which travels twice the speed of sound, undergo a zero gravity parabolic flight which recreates the weightlessness of space and take a spin in a centrifuge machine which stimulates extreme G-Force.

A panel of space experts will select the winning contestants.

Tom added: “I’m most excited about the idea of seeing earth from space – something not many people will get the opportunity to do. It’s a once in a life-time trip.”

To vote for Tom visit www.lynxapollo.com/en_GB/104627/tom-lay. The closing date for the enrolment process is April 30, 2013.

HAVE you applied? Contact us at newsdesk@bridgwatermercury.co.uk.