Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Sir Arthur dies at age 90

SUGGESTIONS are being sought for a permanent memorial in Minehead to science fiction author Sir Arthur C. Clarke, who died, aged 90, late on Tuesday night.
Sir Arthur was the town’s most famous son, having been born in Blenheim Road, where a blue plaque on the wall outside now identifies the house.
The Mayor of Minehead, Councillor David Hawkes, told The Post he would be speaking to as many people as possible in the next few days to gather ideas for a lasting memorial which could be looked at by the town council.
Councillor Hawkes said he was aware that apart from the blue plaque, Minehead did not have anything permanent to commemorate the town’s connection with Sir Arthur.
Only in December, The Post highlighted how Sir Arthur’s 90th birthday was being allowed to pass by without any kind of local anniversary activity.
Now, Councillor Hawkes said: “I certainly think it is fitting that we as a town should have some kind of permanent tribute to him in Minehead, and something within earshot of the house he was born in would be good.
“We need to look at a memorial which would be of use to the public rather than just something to look at.”
One early suggestion is to site an orrery in Blenheim Gardens within sight of Sir Arthur’s birth place.
An orrery is a mechanical device which illustrates the relative positions and motions of the planets and moons in the solar system in heliocentric model.
It is typically driven by a large clockwork mechanism with a globe at the centre representing the sun and with a planet at the end of each of the arms.
Another similar suggestion for Blenheim Gardens is to place an armillary sphere, which is a model of the celestial sphere and is sometimes used within a sundial.
Councillor Hawkes said anybody who had any suggestions should submit them to the town council as quickly as possible.
Sir Arthur’s funeral will take place on Saturday in Columbo, Sri Lanka, which he adopted as his home in 1956, and his wish will be respected for it to be a private event.
He asked to be buried at the Kanatte General Cemetery family burial plot of business partner Hector Ekanayake, who headed his adopted Sri Lankan family and who was with him to the end.
Sir Arthur also left written instructions for his funeral to be strictly secular: “Absolutely no religious rites of any kind, relating to any religious faith, should be associated with my funeral.”
Photo of Sir Arthur by Shahidul Alam.

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