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Ashes of Stephen Hawking buried in the Abbey

Friday, 15th June 2018

Ashes of Stephen Hawking buried in the Abbey

A Service of Thanksgiving for Professor Stephen Hawking CH CBE FRS FRSA was held at Westminster Abbey on Friday 15th June 2018, during which his ashes were interred in the Nave.

The service was conducted by the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster, who said in his Bidding:

We come to celebrate the life and achievements of Stephen Hawking in this holy place where God has been worshipped for over a thousand years and where kings and queens and the great men and women of our national history and international influence are memorialised. We shall bury his mortal remains with those of his fellow scientists.
We shall give thanks for Stephen Hawking’s remarkable gifts and for his life: for his years as Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge and for his international reach and influence as a scientist; for his personal courage, endurance, and perseverance living with motor neurone disease; and for his family and friends. We shall with love commend his immortal soul to almighty God.

The Address was given by Professor the Lord Rees of Ludlow OM, Astronomer Royal.

Benedict Cumberbatch, actor, read Wisdom 7: 15-24, and Lucy Hawking, daughter, read Romans 12: 9-21. Major Tim Peake CMG read from Queen Mab by Percy Bysshe Shelley.

Professor Kip Thorne and Tom Nabarro read Tributes.

The Dean led members of the family to the nave for the committal, during which Professor Hawking's ashes were buried between the graves of Sir Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin.

Prayers were led by the Reverend Mark Birch, Minor Canon and Sacrist, and said by: the Reverend Dr Cally Hammond, Dean of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge; Jane Hawking; Elinor Tatum; Professor Stephen J Toope OC, Vice-Chancellor, University of Cambridge; and the Reverend Jane Sinclair, Canon in Residence.

The service was sung by the Choir of Westminster Abbey, directed by James O'Donnell, Organist and Master of the Choristers. The organ was played by Peter Holder, Sub-Organist, and before the service by Matthew Jorysz, Assistant Organist, and Benjamin Cunningham, Organ Scholar.


 



Order of Service for A Service of Thanksgiving for Professor Stephen Hawking CH CBE FRS FRSA (PDF, 468KB)

The Shrine of St Edward the Confessor is one of the most powerful features of the Abbey. To stand in the presence of a man who is both a saint and a monarch is awe-inspiring.

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The Reverend Christopher Stoltz - Minor Canon

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