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Celebrating the Hawking spirit

22 March, 2018 — By John Gulliver

IT wasn’t that the woman’s husband had died that pulled me up – but that she had also “lost” her daughter.

Somehow, I sensed she had that great sense of determination shared by that extraordinary man, Stephen Hawking.

There are so many people who refuse to give in, whatever calamity faces them.

I was chatting to a woman cabbie on Thursday evening on my way to see another great survivor, the pensioners’ leader George Durack, age 93, who was a patient at the Whittington Hospital.

My cabbie told me snatches of her life story – her mother, in her 80s, still alive, born in Queen’s Cres­cent, Kentish Town, now living in Islington, her husband who had died as a middle-aged man, her daughter born with a muscle debilitating disease – and lived only to the age of 24.

“There are times when I am very low – and then I think my daughter would want me to carry on,” she told me. “My daughter was a fighter, she never gave in. My mother is like that – it’s that generation, you know, they are so different. They just get on with life – whatever it throws at them.”


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