Tributes are pouring in to veteran British Astronomer, loveable eccentric and host of the Sky at Night Sir Patrick Moore who has died aged 89.
Sir Patrick died at his Sussex home peacefully. He had a brief spell in hospital last week but no further treatment was deemed appropriate. A statement issued says, “It was determined that no further treatment would benefit him, and it was his wish to spend his last days in his own home, Farthings, where he today passed on, in the company of close friends and carers and his cat Ptolemy”
It is fair to say that Patrick was a much loved and admired person. His was a household name at one time in the UK and forever associated with stargazing. It has been said in the past that he inspired hundreds of people to become stargazers.
The Sky at Night which he hosted until recently was aired often late at night. That did nothing to prevent many viwers tuning in. At times the show as confusing unless you were scientifically mined but it was always fascinating, It opened people's minds to the vastness of space and the final frontiers.
With such a credible knowledge Patrick was proud to have met the first man in Space Yuri Gagarin, the first man on the Moon Neil Armstrong and the first man to fly Orville Wright.
In April the Sky at Night celebrated its 55th year on air and Patrick was part of the show. You could see that his health was declining. This continued more so in recent months.
Patrick had never married, but continued to hold dear in his heart the memory of his young sweetheart of many years ago, Lorna. She died aged just 20 in the war during a German bombing raid. In spite of the passing years Patrick still held animosity toward the German people.
Amongst those, such as Queen's Brian May and scientist Dr Brian Cox, Patrick;s persona has drawn as much attention as his obvious intelligence and knowledge. He appears to have been a warm, kindly and affectionate man, and will be missed by all.
The statement announcing his death went on,"Over the past few years, Patrick, an inspiration to generations of astronomers, fought his way back from many serious spells of illness and continued to work and write at a great rate, but this time his body was too weak to overcome the infection which set in, a few weeks ago. "He was able to perform on his world record-holding TV Programme The Sky at Night right up until the most recent episode. "His executors and close friends plan to fulfil his wishes for a quiet ceremony of interment, but a farewell event is planned for what would have been Patrick's 90th birthday in March 2013."