Sir Patrick Moore leaves part of his estate to Paignton Bookshop boss Matthew Clarke

Brian May, Patrick Moore, Chris Lintott and Matthew ClarkeMatthew Clarke, right, with Sir Patrick Moore, Chris Lintott and Brian May
Matthew Clarke, right, with Sir Patrick Moore, Chris Lintott and Brian May

13 January 2014 by HE Hedge

Matthew Clarke, right, with Sir Patrick Moore, Chris Lintott and Brian May THE late astronomer Sir Patrick Moore has left some of his net estate, worth £420,707, to lifelong family friend Matthew Clarke. The Paignton Bookshop owner and his wife were with the Sky at Night presenter when he died at his Sussex home in 2012.

Matthew Clarke and his brother Lawrence, Ian Makins and Chris Doherty have been named as the main beneficiaries of his will.

Queen’s Brian May is named as one of the executors.

Mr Clarke, who has yet to see the full details of the will, said: “My father became friends with Patrick when they joined the RAF together. He was part of our lives from when we were born. He would take us on trips to the BBC to see The Sky At Night being produced.

“Patrick helped me get my first job in publishing. My father died when I was 22 and my mother passed away a few years later, but Patrick was always there for us. I used to speak to him every Sunday. He was a total one-off and extremely generous. His death left a big hole in our lives.”

Mr Clarke’s brother Lawrence, also a father-of-two, edited many of Sir Patrick’s books. He said: ‘He wrote a wedding march for my wife and I when we got married. He was someone you could talk to in confidence.”

The astronomer, who died aged 89 in 2012, did not marry or have any children.

He also left gifts totalling £15,700 for 21 friends and £500 for a ‘farewell party’ at his Sussex cottage. He asked his executors to ‘find loving homes’ for his cats Jeannie and Ptolemy and use his estate to pay for their upkeep. He left his organs to medical research.

Paying tribute when the astronomer died, Mr Clarke said: “My life has always had Patrick in it, with both my parents dying at a relatively young age, so he became a father figure. We had weekly conversations with him advising me on any problems and listening to how we were all getting on — always listening and always with sage advice and great humour.”