A charity helping the hungry in Cambridge was able to put on an extra-special Easter lunch - thanks to Stephen Hawking.

The world-renowned scientist's funeral took place in the city on Saturday following his death earlier this month.

On the same day, a donation from his family helped to fund FoodCycle's Easter lunch at Wesley Methodist Church.

A note on tables told the 50 guests the meal was "a gift from Stephen". Organisers said the physicist was given "a little cheer" before diners tucked in.

"Lucy Hawking contacted me and mentioned that the family would like to make a donation so that while the funeral was taking place people would be sitting down to a hot meal 'on Stephen'. "It was a really kind gesture that I think fitted well with the sympathy Prof Hawking felt for people who were having a tough time of things."

Alex Collis, East of England regional manager, FoodCycle.

Regional manager Alex Collis said the donation would in fact provide several meals for hundreds of guests.

FoodCycle Cambridge collects surplus food from businesses and organisations around the city including Sainsbury's, the City Food Bank and Lensfield Road Farmers' Market, to put on a meal every Saturday.

In 2017, the Cambridge project served 6,300 meals, making use of 9,166kg of unwanted food.

It is staffed with volunteers willing to give up their time to cook, serve and collect food.

Anyone who will benefit from a nice hot meal and a chat is welcome to go along and guests including older people, the homeless, refugees, people with mental health issues, and the long-term unemployed.

"The meals are open to anyone and there's no need to book or have a voucher - no questions are asked and the meals have a great community feel with groups of difference people who might not otherwise meeting sitting down round a table together."

Alex Collis, FoodCycle.
Some of the treats on offer thanks to Stephen Hawking's family Credit: @FoodCycle Camb

To find out more about volunteering with FoodCycle, which also has a project in Norwich, go to www.foodcycle.org.uk.