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Professor Hawking’s final gift: an Easter meal for the homeless

Professor Stephen Hawking delivers a keynote speech as he receives the Honorary Freedom of the City of London during a ceremony at the Guildhall in the City of London. (Photo by MATT DUNHAM/AP)

As hundreds of people lined the streets of Cambridge to pay their final respects to Professor Stephen Hawking last March 31, guests at a local church’s Easter lunch enjoyed a three-course meal paid for by the famed scientist’s family in his name.

Hawking’s family made the donation to FoodCycle, a charity that helps feed the needy in Cambridge, so that 50 guests can have a scrumptious Easter lunch at the Wesley Methodist Church. The lunch took place at the same time as the private funeral for the physicist, which was held at the church of St. Mary the Great.

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“Lucy Hawking [Professor Hawking’s daughter] contacted me and mentioned that the family would like to make a donation so that while the funeral was taking place people would be sitting down to a hot meal ‘on Stephen’,” Alex Collis, a regional manager of Foodcycle, told ITV news.

“It was a really kind gesture that I think fitted well with the sympathy Prof Hawking felt for people who were having a tough time of things,” she added.

A short note left for the 50 guests along with flowers and decorations told them that “today’s lunch is a gift from Stephen.”

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FoodCycle posted pictures from the lunch and a message of thanks on the Twitter account, which you can read below:

Upon learning about the Professor’s final act, people expressed their admiration for him:

The private funeral for the Professor was attended by around 500 guests. Among them was actor Eddie Redmayne, who portrayed Hawking in the 2014 biographical drama “The Theory of Everything.” Redmayne gave a reading from Ecclesiastes during the service. There was also a reading by Astronomer Royal Martin Reese and eulogies by one of Hawking’s children and of a former student.  Flags were lowered to half-mast in many parts of Cambridge to pay tribute to the beloved scientist.

Professor Hawking passed away on March 14 at the age of 76. A world-renowned scientist, his groundbreaking research about black holes and other phenomena has helped further humanity’s understanding of the cosmos. He suffered from a motor neurone disease that eventually left him unable to control his muscles.

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