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Prof Stephen Hawking's ashes interred at Westminster Abbey

By Ben Comber

Professor Stephen Hawking in March 2015. Picture: Andre Pattenden
Professor Stephen Hawking in March 2015. Picture: Andre Pattenden

The Cambridge University professor was buried between Sir Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin.

British astronaut Tim Peake and actor Benedict Cumberbatch were among those attending a service of thanksgiving for Professor Stephen Hawking at Westminster Abbey today (Friday June 15).

His ashes were interred in the nave, between the graves of Sir Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin.

A thousand members of the public were given tickets following a public ballot, to which 25,000 applied.

Music created by Vangelis, famed for the scores of Chariots of Fire and Bladerunner, was played at the service - and was beamed into space from the European Space Agency in Spain.

Among those attending were TV star Carol Vorderman and her daughter Katie, comedian and children’s author David Walliams, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Culture Secretary Matt Hancock, the West Suffolk Tory MP

Mr Cumberbatch read Wisdom 7: 15-24, and Prof Hawking’s daughter Lucy Hawking read Romans 12: 9-21.

Major Tim Peake, Britain’s first European Space Agency astronaut, read from Queen Mab by Percy Bysshe Shelley.

The service was conducted by the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster, who said in his bidding: “We come to celebrate the life and achievements of Stephen Hawking in this holy place where God has been worshipped for over a thousand years and where kings and queens and the great men and women of our national history and international influence are memorialised. We shall bury his mortal remains with those of his fellow scientists.

“We shall give thanks for Stephen Hawking’s remarkable gifts and for his life: for his years as Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge and for his international reach and influence as a scientist; for his personal courage, endurance, and perseverance living with motor neurone disease; and for his family and friends. We shall with love commend his immortal soul to almighty God.”

The address was given by Professor Lord Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal and Trinity fellow.

Prayers were led by the Reverend Mark Birch, minor canon and sacrist, and said by the Reverend Dr Cally Hammond, dean of Gonville & Caius College, his ex-wife Jane Hawking, Elinor Tatum, University of Cambridge vice-chancellor Professor Stephen J Toope OC, and the Reverend Jane Sinclair, canon in residence.

The service was sung by the Choir of Westminster Abbey, directed by James O’Donnell, organist and master of the choristers.

The organ was played by Peter Holder, sub-organist, and before the service by Benjamin Cunningham, organ scholar.

The University of Cambridge theoretical physicist died on March 14, 2018, aged 76.

Thousands lined the streets of Cambridge for his funeral, which took place at Great St Mary’s Church on March 31

Read more

Stephen Hawking’s final work suggests the universe is simpler than we thought

Stephen Hawking’s scientific legacy: Black holes, event horizons and an exit from eternal inflation

Cambridge says goodbye to Professor Stephen Hawking


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