Rock star Brian May is to sell the home of his late friend, Sir Patrick Moore.
The Queen guitarist announced plans for the sale of Farthings in Selsey, near Chichester, after proposals to turn it into a museum fell through.
And he has pledged to donate profits from the sale to the South Downs Planetarium in Chichester.
Brian May, who says he was inspired to take up astronomy as a child when watching Sir Patrick on television in The Sky At Night - bought Sir Patrick’s home when the astronomer fell on hard times.
He said initial plans to turn Farthings into a museum had fallen through, however he would place ‘certain constraints’ on the sale of the property to prevent the land being sold on for ‘moneymaking housebuilding’.
Trustees at the South Downs Planetarium in Chichester now hope to convert derelict buildings on their Kingsham Farm site to create a study centre using Sir Patrick’s books and observations, alongside a museum and astronomical garden.
Dr John Mason is principal lecturer and founding trustee of the planetarium, and was a friend of Sir Patrick for some 45 years.
“Brian May said he was minded to give any profits from the sale of Farthings to the Planetarium. That is a wonderful thing for him to do and we are incredibly grateful” said Dr Mason.
“The idea is to set up an extension of what we do here to provide a place where people can learn more about astronomy.
“This would be the biggest astronomical library in private hands outside the Royal Astronomical Society in London.
“People could browse the latest books and students could use the centre which would have the ambience of Sir Patrick’s library.
“We simply want to enthuse new generations of people to take up an interest in astronomy, whether they are young or old. Sir Patrick encouraged everyone and we feel we are doing exactly what he would have wanted.”
Brian May said of the planetarium in his blog: “Patrick spent a lot of his own money helping this splendid institution to get started. We believe this small but busy planetarium is one of the best possible living monuments to Patrick’s lifelong commitment to astronomy. Every year it gives thousands of young students their first taste of the wonders of the universe – and doubtless at this very moment is inspiring the next generation of astronomers – as Patrick himself did for over half a century.”
Read more of Brian May’s blog here
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