England’s best-loved and most eccentric astronomer, Sir Patrick Moore, has died aged 89 at his home in Sussex.
Much loved for his enthusiastic delivery and extra curricular activities, which included playing the xylophone, writing children’s stories and composing operas, Sir Patrick was involved with BBC television’s The Sky at Night for over 55 years, and its host for four decades. His colourful career began in the Second World War, when he lied about his age to join the RAF, serving first with Bomber Command and then rising to the rank of Flight Lieutenant. During the War his fiancee, Lorna, was killed when an ambulance she was driving was hit by a bomb. The grief-stricken Moore never married but remained devoted to his mother, who had lost her husband before the War.
In a rather disturbing coincidence, The Chap had sent Michael Attree to interview Sir Patrick just weeks ago for the current edition, and this has turned out to be the great astronomer’s final interview. They discussed Sir Patrick’s early interest in the planets, influenced by his mother’s short stories about aliens. They also talked about Sir Patrick’s views on Doctor Who, gentlemanly self-defence, extra-terrestrial life and UFOs, the two operas he wrote, the Clangers and of course facial hair.
Sir Patrick Alfred Caldwell Moore
4th March 1923-9th December 2012