More than a quarter of children (26 per cent) dream of becoming celebrities when they grow up, according to a new survey.

The result contrasts with the adult UK population: fewer than one in 10 (8 per cent) dreamt of celebrity success when they were younger and more than half (53 per cent) aspired to professional careers, such as a teacher or nurse.

The survey, commissioned by Start-rite Shoes, questioned 1,000 adults and 500 children aged six to 12.

Dr Sally Ann Law, a personal and executive coach, said: “With celebrities dominating the press and so many TV talent shows on our screens, it’s no surprise fame and fortune has climbed the career aspiration ladder.

“Parents want the best for their children and regardless of specific jobs, this study reveals the major motivation for their chosen careers; 34 per cent of adults and 26 per cent of children cite happiness as the most important reason for chasing their dream roles.”

Regional variations saw 25 per cent of children in Wales wanting to be footballers, 26 per cent of children in the North-East aspiring to be teachers and 24 per cent of East Midlands youngsters hoping to become vets.