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Thursday, 11 January, 2001, 18:47 GMT
Astronomer taken ill
Patrick Moore
The astronomer is suffering from a spine condition
Sir Patrick Moore is having to cut down on his workload after being struck by sudden paralysis of his right hand.

The astronomer is unable to write because of his condition, caused by a crumbling of the spine.

The condition has also stopped the 77-year-old playing the xylophone and driving, he told the BBC's Southern Counties Radio.


I can't even pick up a glass. I can't write and can't type

Sir Patrick Moore

Sir Patrick, knighted by the Queen in the New Year's Honours List, has had to cancel a series of 70 lectures.

He said: "I can't even pick up a glass. I can't write and can't type."

He said one day he was ok, the next he was not.

And doctors can offer him little hope of restoring the power in his hand.

Writing career

There are fears this will mark the end of his illustrious writing career, which has included his penning more than 60 books on astronomy.

He told the BBC it was "absolutely frustrating" as he is in the middle of writing a book.

But he is pinning his hopes on a voice activated device.

And Sir Patrick has vowed the condition will not mean he is forced into retirement.

He intends to continue presenting the BBC's The Sky At Night - a role he has held since 1957.

Knighthood

The programme is now in the record books as the world's longest-running TV series with the same presenter.

Sir Patrick was knighted "for services to the popularisation of science and to broadcasting" having already been made an OBE in 1968 and a CBE in 1988.

Last year, he had to have shrapnel from a wartime blast removed from his right knee.

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