Any Bridportian would surely consider the scientist to be depicted on the new £50 note should be David Gordon Fearn of Bridport, the ‘father’ of spacecraft ion propulsion.

Fearn, who died in 2007 aged 68, was born and educated in Bridport at the former grammar school and went on to gain a first degree in physics at Imperial College, followed by a PhD in Plasma Physics.

This was the start of a brilliant career, becoming internationally recognised as a pioneer inventor and developer of the systems that make the communications satellites we rely upon today a feasible proposition. Basically, Fearn’s systems maintain satellites in place by generating so-called ‘ions’ with sunlight and using these for thrust.

It really is rocket science, and the technology further renders deep space travel and exploration realistic, a fact recognised by the European Space Agency, NASA and the US Air Force who’ve all adopted Fearn’s ion propulsion.

Strangely not well-known in Bridport, his obituaries, speak of a man who became a star performer at conferences where students clamoured for his signature on copies of the papers he’d written.

A keen athlete, Fearn won many races including the Berkshire six-mile title and continued to run into his 50s.

He took up flying at the age of 60 and died carrying out a pre-flight check.

Self-effacing and unassuming, this rockstar physicist was a son of Bridport and I’ve nominated him for the £50 note and suggest others do the same.

I’ve withheld my name/address because this is about David Fearn, who I knew in my early teens.

When I found out what he’d done, I wasn’t surprised because, even back then, you somehow knew you were in the presence of greatness.

Name and address supplied