United Kingdom: Memorial for Sir Terry Wogan held at Westminster Abbey

by Eleanor Cooper 601 views

Yesterday, Westminster Abbey hosted a special memorial service for the legendary late Eurovision commentator, Sir Terry Wogan.
The event marks the 50th anniversary of his first ever broadcast for the BBC. During his hugely successful career,  Sir Terry was the face and voice of many institutionalised programmes, including his BBC Radio 2 breakfast show, the charity show Children in Need, and of course, the British commentary on the Eurovision Song Contest.
The Irish born broadcaster provided the commentary for the BBC emission of the Eurovision Song Contest every year from 1980 until 2008, with Graham Norton taking over his role in 2009. His cheeky comments and light-hearted take on the contest made him immensely popular with the British viewers, arguably defining the contest for a generation.
Yesterday, Sir Terry’s dulcet tones echoed around the Abbey against a backdrop of archive footage of the much-loved broadcaster as the service was opened by the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall. The Queen was represented at the service by lady-in-waiting Lady Susan Hussey.


Hundreds of guests attended the event, celebrities included Ken Bruce, Chris Evans, Alan Titchmarsh, Tess Daly, Alesha Dixon, Maureen Lipman, Esther Rantzen, Gaby Roslin, June Whitfield, Jimmy Tarbuck, Simon Mayo, Aled Jones, Rory Bremner, Richard Stilgoe and Joanna Lumley.

Sir Terry’s children Alan, Mark and Katherine read prayers for their father and recordings of Sir Terry were played throughout the event.
Sir Terry's daughter, Katherine, son Alan, widow Helen and their son Mark
Sir Terry’s daughter, Katherine, son Alan, widow Helen and their son Mark

Gloria Hunniford, a fellow British television personality who began working with Terry in the 1980s, said this was a wonderful opportunity to remember Sir Terry, particularly because his death had been so sudden. She commented on Good Morning Britain:

He really was so impacting on so many people’s lives.He was very well read, very intellectual, but played the buffoon… With that attitude and with that great voice of his he was just able to reach everybody.

Health issues meant that Sir Terry had to pull out of the Children in Need charity show in November 2015. Announcing his death just two months later, a family statement said:

Sir Terry Wogan died after a short but brave battle with cancer. He passed away surrounded by his family.

Tributes flooded in, including Tony Hall, the director general of the BBC, who called Sir Terry a national treasure.

Sir Terry died from cancer on January 31 2016, aged 77. His last broadcast was on BBC Radio 2 on November 8 2015.

A tribute, Sir Terry Wogan Remembered: 50 Years at the BBC, will be broadcast on BBC1 on Friday 30 September at 21:00 BST.
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