Stephen Hawking’s family said their final goodbyes today, as thousands lined the streets Cambridge for the funeral of the renowned theoretical physicist, who died peacefully at his home earlier this month.
Despite having said he is an atheist, Prof Hawking’s family, including ex wife Jane Hawking, son Timothy Hawking and daughter Lucy Hawking, who were pictured leaving the church in tears, felt a traditional Anglican service would give his many friends in the city a chance to pay tribute to him.
The service was held at Great St Mary’s Church, a stone’s throw from Gonville and Caius College, where he was a fellow for 52 years, and saw Eddie Redmayne, who portrayed Prof Hawking in the Hollywood biopic The Theory of Everything, give a reading from the Bible entitled Everything Has Its Time.
Crowds lined the streets to pay their final respects to the much admired scientist and a spontaneous round of applause broke out as six porters from the physicist’s former college carried his coffin from the hearse into the church. The bell tolled 76 times for the physicist, one for every year of his life.
Redmayne was among the first to arrive earlier in the day. While Felicity Jones, who starred alongside him in the Theory of Everything followed shortly after. She made her way into the church hand-in-hand with fiance film director Charles Guard.The Birmingham actress, 33, has also starred in Star Wars and studied at Oxford University.
Redmayne gave an emotional reading at Prof Hawking’s funeral, with Ecclesiastes 3.1-11 as the chosen text. This was followed by a reading by the Astronomer Royal, Martin Rees.
Eulogies were delivered by Robert Hawking, Prof Hawking’s eldest child, and Professor Fay Dowker, a former student of Prof Hawking.
His ashes will be interred next to the grave of Sir Isaac Newton at Westminster Abbey and near Charles Darwin’s.
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Source: Daily Mail