Stephen Hawking Memorial – Westminster Abbey

Tribute to Stephen Hawking at his memorial service in Westminster Abbey:

We are all grateful to be here to celebrate the legacy of Stephen Hawking.

Stephen heard that I had broken my neck early in 2008 – through Lucy. He immediately reached out to help our family.

He helped us recognise and face challenges in our lives with positivity.

Stephen showed that when time is precious, we must make space for what makes us real. He was exceptionally efficient at choosing his words and making them count. It took him a long time to create his words so he didn’t chitchat and got straight to the point. He had a wicked sense of humour and admired beauty, and even though time was tight he always made sure to share his love for life. That is what made him accessible to so many of us.

Stephen showed how we should all expect the best from one another. Why? Because with higher expectations come greater achievements. He demonstrated that disability is not something that prevents success: the supposed constraints are often imaginary. He showed that we should encourage achievement by expecting it of everyone. We should understand that people have differing abilities, whether visible or invisible, and encourage the best of them. In this way we can all be enabled to be productive, to feel valued and to share love – whatever our ability.

Whether in the NASA space simulator or the CERN particle accelerator Stephen would stop at nothing in working for the good of all.

My wife Ellen and I are besotted by our son who was born hours after Stephen’s passing. Stephen is Ori’s middle name. We look forward to Ori learning about the indefatigable and wise man who really has influenced the world for the better.

Ori’s generation can emulate Stephen in pursuit of sustainable and rewarding futures for all humanity. It is they who will carry Stephen’s influence across the universe.

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