Benedict Cumberbatch leads tributes to Stephen Hawking at memorial service

The Sherlock star, who played the theoretical physicist in 2004, gave a reading in celebration of Hawking's life

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Guests from science and showbiz, including actor Benedict Cumberbatch and TV scientist Professor Brian Cox, paid their respects to Professor Stephen Hawking at a Westminster Abbey memorial on Friday.

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Cumberbatch, who played the renowned theoretical physicist in BBC film Hawking, gave a reading during the service. Astronaut Tim Peake and Prof Hawking’s collaborator and Nobel prize winner Kip Thorne also read tributes.

Stars David Walliams, Piers Morgan and musician Nile Rodgers were among those who joined members of the public to celebrate the life of the scientist.

Guests were welcomed to the abbey in central London by volunteers from the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Paralympic Games.

The memorial saw Hawking’s ashes buried between fellow great scientists Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin. Hawking will also be marked with a memorial stone inscribed with his most famous equation that described the entropy of a black hole.

An original score from composer Vangelis – with a voice-over by Hawking in the middle – was beamed into space from the European Space Agency satellite dish at Ceberos in Spain during the service. In his voiceover, Hawking shared a message of peace and hope, his daughter Lucy said.

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Prof Hawking, who was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in his 20s, died aged 76 on 14th March this year.