The family of a keen young astronomer who died in a road accident provided children with special glasses to view the eclipse.
Overton’s little scientist, George Higginson, who died in 2009 aged 10, loved astronomy and his mum and dad thought it would be a fitting legacy to provide eclipse glasses to 200 children at George’s School, Overton St Helens, as well as five telescopes.
But before Jonathan and his wife Sarah knew it, two other schools requested glasses and the idea snowballed, with a grand total of 40,000 being ordered. Jonathan Higginson said: “It was a major success. Twenty-eight thousand kids and teachers watched the eclipse and it has all been really exciting.
“At Overton school, we all got to view the eclipse through the clouds. My sons Max and Edward were at Overton and Henry was at Lancaster Boys Grammar School and we all saw the eclipse.
“We now have a total of £40k in George’s telescope appeal, an appeal to build an observatory in his memory in Lancaster’s Williamson Park.
“The next stage is to put a business plan together, and show that there is interest in and commitment to an observatory, and apply to the National Lottery and other funding sources. It’s looking good, it’s all positive, we are moving onwards and upwards.” Donations have already been flooding in for George’s Telescope appeal at www.georgetelescope.com.
So far more than £1,200 has been raised towards the appeal in just four days.
George’s family want to build George’s Telescope beside the Palm House, where the park’s Mini-Beast Hut stands now.
Lancaster’s mini-beasts will get a new home built for them just a few metres away and Ashton Memorial will shield George’s Telescope from the city lights. Jonathan and Sarah said: “With 50 acres of beautiful parkland surrounding it in the heart of Lancaster, we think the observatory would be the perfect memorial to George – and could even provide the foundations for more teaching facilities to grow around it and ignite a passion for science in people of all ages.”
The observatory will cost around £250,000.
Five lives were saved after George’s death when his organs were donated.