Sadness at death of Sir Patrick Moore who inspired generations
TRIBUTES have been paid to astronomer Sir Patrick Moore, who has died at the age of 89.
Derby historian Maxwell Craven, who met Sir Patrick on more than one occasion, said talking to him was an "enjoyable experience".
And John Holmes, the chairman of Derby and District Astronomical Society said his members would be "upset and saddened" to hear the news that the eccentric Sky At Night presenter had died.
Sir Patrick died at his home in West Sussex at 12.25pm yesterday.
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In a short statement, friends said the broadcaster had "passed away peacefully".
The statement continued: "After a short spell in hospital last week, it was determined that no further treatment would benefit him and it was his wish to spend his last days in his own home, Farthings, where he passed on, in the company of close friends, carers and his cat, Ptolemy."
Mr Craven said Sir Patrick lived opposite one of his relatives. He added: "I met him on a couple of occasions at parties and he always came across as rather a nice man.
"Of course, as well as being an astronomer, he was a very accomplished musician. I always found talking to him an enjoyable experience."
Mr Holmes said Sir Patrick had visited Derbyshire on a number of occasions and that one or two members of the society knew him.
He said Sir Patrick's hand drawing of the Moon was used by NASA astronauts during an Apollo moon landing in 1969.
Mr Holmes said: "This is a man who made amateur astronomy popular for more than 50 years.
"He was a genuine eccentric, the like of whom we will never see again, and his talks here in the county were always very popular.
"I remember him giving a talk at Ecclesbourne School, Duffield, which was packed and what he said was absolutely fascinating. I know that many of our members will be upset and saddened."
Sir Patrick was most famous for presenting the long-running BBC stargazing TV show The Sky at Night.
He received his knighthood in 2001, won a Bafta for services to television and was a member of the Royal Society.
He wrote more than 60 books on astronomy and The Sky At Night inspired generations of stargazers.