Stephen Hawking's final beautiful gift to the world revealed in the wake of his funeral
A few weeks ago, renowned physicist Stephen Hawking passed away at the age of 76. He left behind three children, Lucy, Robert, and Tim, who said of his death:
"We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today. He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years. His courage and persistence with his brilliance and humor inspired people across the world.
"He once said: 'It would not be much of a universe if it wasn’t home to the people you love.'We will miss him for ever."
The professor's funeral service was held this weekend in Cambridge, where he had lived for many years - but he didn't go out without sharing one last act of kindness.
A memorial took place on Saturday in Cambridge at the University Church of St Mary the Great, and thousands of people turned out to pay their respects. While that was going on, however, Wesley Methodist Church - which is just under half a mile away - provided free food to homeless people and those in need.
A lavish lunch for 50 guests was laid out on tables, along with a note that said, "Today's lunch is a gift from Stephen... From the Hawking family."
FoodCycle, the organizers of the event, said that everybody at the Easter dinner dedicated a moment to the late professor before tucking into their meals.
"We're so grateful to the Hawking family for their generous donation so we could give our guests an extra special Easter meal yesterday," the charity said. "We had a little cheer in honor of Stephen Hawking before tucking in."
Even though Hawking was not religious (and, in fact, denounced religion many times throughout his life), his funeral service was fairly traditional.
Approximately 500 guests were invited, including Eddie Redmayne, who played the scientist in the film, The Theory of Everything. The actor gave a moving speech, and presented a biblical reading as part of the eulogy. Another scientist and friend of Hawking's, Astronomer Royal Martin Rees, also spoke.
The church bell was rung 76 times as a signifier of the years of his life, and his coffin was carried into the church by porters from Cambridge University's Gonville and Caius College, where he was a fellow for 52 years.
In a statement about the service, Hawking's children said they wanted to hold the funeral "in the city that he loved so much and which loved him".
Hawking's final resting place will be in Westminster Abbey in London, where his ashes are due to be interred near to the remains of Sir Isaac Newton on June 15th. The cemetery is open to public access, meaning that people from all over the world will be able to visit him for generations to come.
As well as leaving behind a parting gift for those in need, then, Hawking also built a legacy for himself during his lifetime that will live on for far longer than any of us reading this right now.