One of my heroes died this morning.

I’ve loved astronomy since I was a child.

While my friends were learning dance routines from their favourite artists, I’d be reading about our solar system and writing to Sir Patrick Moore.

I can spend ages just staring up at the planets, stars and galaxies with wonderment and amazement.
I get lost in its vastness and inconceivable allurement.

It still astonishes me every single time I look to the heavens that we are viewing astronomical objects as they were, in some cases many thousands of years ago and with telescopes many millions and even billions. You can literally travel through time just by looking up!

It surprises me how many people don’t look up to the skies and revel in its beauty, how many people don’t ask themselves what else is out there, how many people don’t find themselves feeling tiny and insignificant at the sheer size and magnitude of our universe, how many people don’t realise you can see planets, galaxies and even the space station without the use of a telescope.

Stephen Hawking didn’t just bring science to the masses, he didn’t just make science understandable and interesting, he didn’t just do so with wit and humour, he didn’t just come up with some perplexing theories that changed and challenged the very fabric of our scientific knowledge.

He did far more.

He proved that anything is possible.
He taught us that we are all significant.
He showed us that disability doesn’t equate to inability.
He defied the odds.
He lived without the limitations people assume come hand in hand with a disability.
He campaigned tirelessly for disability rights, he made thousands for charity and set up his own foundation.
He inspired generations, he educated people, he showed disabled young people that they can achieve anything they set their mind to, that giving up has never been an option – and that’s exactly what they are proving, every single day thanks to his example.

He will forever be remembered not just for his phenomenal mind but for instilling belief in everyone that you can accomplish and achieve, whatever your circumstances.

We all have the power to change the world.

Professor Stephen Hawking you will always be one of my heroes.