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Disabled man tells how Stephen Hawking helped him reach for the stars

Jason Felce attended the scientist’s memorial service where he met astronaut Tim Peake.

A young disabled man has met one of his heroes and been presented with a badge from outer space.

Jason Felce, 20, met British astronaut Tim Peake at the memorial service for Professor Stephen Hawking in London last week.

The astronaut gave Mr Felce a badge that he took into space when he spent six months on board the International Space Station.

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Stephen Hawking’s ashes were interred at Westminster Abbey (Westminster Abbey/PA)

Mr Felce, who attends the National Star College in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, uses an electronic communication device to speak, just as Prof Hawking did.

He was invited with two other college students to the memorial service at Westminster Abbey where the ashes of Prof Hawking were interred between the graves of Sir Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin.

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Astronaut Tim Peake speaking at the memorial service for Professor Stephen Hawking, at Westminster Abbey (Ben Stansall/PA)

The world-renowned cosmologist who was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in his 20s died at the age of 76 in March.

“Prof Hawking was the first person I ever saw using an electronic communication device,” said Mr Felce, who controls his communication device with eye movement.

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The late professor Stephen Hawking (Joe Giddens/PA)

“He has inspired me to be the best that I can be and not let anything, including my disability, hold me back.”

Mr Felce was born with cerebral palsy and his family were told that, if he survived, he would not be likely to do anything in life.

He is in his first year of college at National Star and hopes to be a DJ.

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