Professor Stephen Hawking lived a remarkable life, changing the way we see the universe forever.
However, just as impressive was his capacity for compassion. Despite having many personal battles to face, Professor Hawking always took the time to offer comfort and wisdom to others.
He participated in numerous fundraising activities for disabled individuals, often lecturing on the rights of disabled people. He also showed a deep humanitarian concern, often warning of the threats of global warming and nuclear war.
Even after his death at the age of 76, Professor Hawking’s giving spirit lives on; spreading joy in his beloved hometown of Cambridge.
One farewell gift from Prof Stephen Hawking today: a special Easter lunch! Making positive things happen even in death: inspirational! pic.twitter.com/PsAnQ3YV4t
— Neil Drysdale (@NeilDrysdale) April 2, 2018
While his funeral was taking place, a very special Easter meal was being served to homeless people, complete with tables adorned with floral decorations.
The meal took place at Wesley Church and was paid for by Professor Hawking, with the great scientist’s family leaving the following star-spangled note:
Today’s lunch is a gift from Stephen. From the Hawking family.
The lunch was organised by Cambridge FoodCycle, a charity which uses donated and unused food to give free meals for those who need them most.
The worthy organisation were gifted a kind financial donation from the Hawking family, which allowed them to serve up a beautifully presented lunch complete with Easter gifts for the fifty guests.
Those in attendance gave cheers of appreciation for the esteemed professor before the celebrations began.
Many of those present were so touched by the final act of generosity, they were reduced to tears.
We're so grateful to the Hawking family for their generous donation so we could give our guests an extra special #Easter meal yesterday. We had a little cheer in honour of #StephenHawking before tucking in. #Cambridge #community #lovefoodhatewaste #alltogether pic.twitter.com/ali61X06iE
— FoodCycle Cambridge (@FoodCycleCamb) April 1, 2018
FoodCycle Cambridge gave the following heartfelt thanks to the Hawking family over Facebook:
Thank you to all our volunteers for making Saturday’s lunch so special for our guests. And a special thank you to the family of Stephen Hawking for supporting the meal – such a generous gesture on a difficult day for them.
Happy Easter to you all, and enjoy the time with your friends and family.
Alex Collis, from FoodCycle Cambridge, told the BBC how the thoughtful donation helped make the room ‘look extra nice and Eastery’ while allowing the organisation to purchase treats for guests who ‘often don’t have a lot’.
Ms Collis said:
They wanted to do something to support people going through a tough time,
It was a really lovely gesture…. and very kind of them to think of FoodCycle.
A brilliant lovely man of great heart.
— Liberty Belle (@MsLiberty2U) April 2, 2018
This is such a beautiful thing to do.
— Cyris (@NeoEnding) April 2, 2018
Many people took to social media to applaud the kindness shown by the renowned theoretical physicist.
One volunteer tweeted:
Moved to tears by this generosity from the family of #StephenHawking – to think of others at such a sad time is incredible.
Our guests were v.happy to enjoy their lunch ‘on Stephen’
Another person said:
Stephen Hawking was a wondrous man. In life he fed our souls and our minds. In death he feed our bodies and and opened our hearts. RIP. Travel where ever you’ve dreamed of.
Moved to tears by this generosity from the family of #StephenHawking – to think of others at such a sad time is incredible. Our guests were v.happy to enjoy their lunch "on Stephen" #Cambridge #community https://t.co/MmPEM90oHT
— Vibhuti Patel (@VibhutiJPatel) April 1, 2018
Stephen Hawking was a wondrous man. In life he fed our souls and our minds. In death he feed our bodies and and opened our hearts.??
RIP. Travel where ever you've dreamed of.
— MichelleAnneDay (@MichelleAnneDa2) April 3, 2018
Professor Hawking’s children – Lucy, Robert and Tim – made the following statement about the careful thought process behind their father’s funeral:
Our father lived and worked in Cambridge for over 50 years. He was an integral and highly recognisable part of the university and the city.
For this reason, we have decided to hold his funeral in the city that he loved so much and which loved him.
Our father’s life and work meant many things to many people, both religious and non-religious.
So, the service will be both inclusive and traditional, reflecting the breadth and diversity of his life.
Professor Hawking’s ashes will be interred at Westminster Abbey in June, right by the remains of fellow scientist Sir Isaac Newton.
Our thoughts are with the Hawking family, who were able to show complete selflessness on such a difficult day. Their good deeds will ensure Professor Hawking’s legacy will continue.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.