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Sir Patrick Moore 1923 - 2012

I joined two classes of nine to ten-year-olds very recently at a primary school just outside Chichester. It was very informal. We simply huddled close around a screen at the front of the classroom as I tried to take them on a tour of the stars ... but was constantly thwarted by their insistent and insighful questioning. Wonderful stuff! I had so much more to share, but was drawn up short with the lifecycle of the stars ... the planets, Milky Way Galaxy and the Universe would have to wait for another day!

But all the children knew of Sir Patrick's sad passing. They felt they had lost a friend. An icon. They had. We all have. It signals the end of an era. I, for one, feel privileged to have met him, several times, to have sat in his study and shared a few cups of tea, and much laughter (!), to have lectured alongside him and enjoyed a terrifically funny Q&A session and lengthy book-signing at the Portsmouth Space City Event. His terrific contribution to my book - an overwhelming act of kindness and enthusiasm for a first-time author - was an honour that will never be forgotten.

He was genuine, never pulled his astronomical punches, patient and forever inspirational. He is still with us, and always will be. Thank you ... 

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