Tuesday 17 January 2017

'I think he was the tops, the cat's miaow' - Stars honour Terry Wogan with heartfelt tributes at Westminster Abbey

Sherna Noah and Eleanor Bley Griffiths

Published 27/09/2016 | 12:20

Joanna Lumley speaks during the Service of Thanksgiving for Sir Terry Wogan at Westminster Abbey, London. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire
Joanna Lumley speaks during the Service of Thanksgiving for Sir Terry Wogan at Westminster Abbey, London. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire
Chris Evans speaks during the Service of Thanksgiving for Sir Terry Wogan at Westminster Abbey, London. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire
Dermot O'Leary and Claudia Winkleman (right) arrive for the Service of Thanksgiving for Sir Terry Wogan at Westminster Abbey, London. Photo Hannah McKay/PA Wire
Fearne Cotton and Jesse Wood arrive for the Service of Thanksgiving for Sir Terry Wogan at Westminster Abbey, London. Photo: Hannah McKay/PA Wire
Gloria Hunniford and husband Stephen Way arrive for the Service of Thanksgiving for Sir Terry Wogan at Westminster Abbey, London. Photo: Hannah McKay/PA Wire
Dame Esther Rantzen arrives for the Service of Thanksgiving for Sir Terry Wogan at Westminster Abbey, London. Photo: Hannah McKay/PA Wire
Michael Ball and Sara Cox arrive for the Service of Thanksgiving for Sir Terry Wogan at Westminster Abbey, London. Photo: Hannah McKay/PA Wire
June Whitfield arrives for the Service of Thanksgiving for Sir Terry Wogan at Westminster Abbey, London. Photo: Hannah McKay/PA Wire
Gaby Roslin arrives for the Service of Thanksgiving for Sir Terry Wogan at Westminster Abbey, London. Photo: Hannah McKay/PA Wire
Katie Melua performs during the Service of Thanksgiving for Sir Terry Wogan at Westminster Abbey, London. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire
Anneka Rice arrives for the Service of Thanksgiving for Sir Terry Wogan at Westminster Abbey, London. Photo: Hannah McKay/PA Wire
Jimmy Tarbuck arrives for the Service of Thanksgiving for Sir Terry Wogan at Westminster Abbey, London. Photo: Hannah McKay/PA Wire
Sir Terry Wogan, who died in January after a brief battle with cancer

Claudia Winkleman, Dermot O'Leary and Fearne Cotton were among the stars arriving at Westminster Abbey for a special service of thanksgiving to honour the life of the much-loved broadcasting star Sir Terry Wogan.

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Chris Evans led the tributes to the late Sir Terry Wogan at a packed service at Westminster Abbey, saying: "He will always be the best."

The unforgettable Irish brogue of the broadcaster - who died in January following a battle with cancer - could be heard at the service, which opened with recordings from Sir Terry's archive.

Evans, who inherited millions of Sir Terry's listeners when he took over the Radio 2 breakfast show, told the congregation: "Terry Wogan wasn't the best. He is the best and he will always be the best."

Dermot O'Leary and Claudia Winkleman (right) arrive for the Service of Thanksgiving for Sir Terry Wogan at Westminster Abbey, London. Photo Hannah McKay/PA Wire
Dermot O'Leary and Claudia Winkleman (right) arrive for the Service of Thanksgiving for Sir Terry Wogan at Westminster Abbey, London. Photo Hannah McKay/PA Wire

Katie Melua, who made her name with the help of Sir Terry, and Peter Gabriel sang at the moving event, which was attended by Sir Terry's three children and his wife, who he famously described as "the present Lady Wogan".

Sir Terry, known for his velvety voice on radio and television, gave enjoyment to audiences over six decades, sealing his status as a national treasure.

Dame Esther Rantzen arrives for the Service of Thanksgiving for Sir Terry Wogan at Westminster Abbey, London. Photo: Hannah McKay/PA Wire
Dame Esther Rantzen arrives for the Service of Thanksgiving for Sir Terry Wogan at Westminster Abbey, London. Photo: Hannah McKay/PA Wire

And today a host of stars poured into Westminster Abbey to pay tribute to Sir Terry, who died at the age of 77 on January 31 this year following a battle with cancer.

Broadcaster Gloria Hunniford, who was among the celebrity guests, said: "It's a very special event. I feel happy and sad. Sad because we have to be here to celebrate his life, happy that we've got a chance to say goodbye.

Katie Melua performs during the Service of Thanksgiving for Sir Terry Wogan at Westminster Abbey, London. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire
Katie Melua performs during the Service of Thanksgiving for Sir Terry Wogan at Westminster Abbey, London. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire

"He would be saying, 'what's this all about?' But we never got a chance to say goodbye."

The service will feature performances from Katie Melua, 32, and Peter Gabriel, 66, and tributes from the BBC's director-general Tony Hall and DJ Chris Evans, who inherited eight million listeners when he replaced Sir Terry, who bowed out in 2009 after 27 years on his breakfast show.

Fearne Cotton and Jesse Wood arrive for the Service of Thanksgiving for Sir Terry Wogan at Westminster Abbey, London. Photo: Hannah McKay/PA Wire
Fearne Cotton and Jesse Wood arrive for the Service of Thanksgiving for Sir Terry Wogan at Westminster Abbey, London. Photo: Hannah McKay/PA Wire

Comic Jimmy Carr also paid tribute, saying: "With Terry Wogan there was no act. He was entirely authentic. He was himself on stage and off. "

Eamonn Holmes said Sir Terry was "from a time in broadcasting that will not be repeated again".

Anneka Rice arrives for the Service of Thanksgiving for Sir Terry Wogan at Westminster Abbey, London. Photo: Hannah McKay/PA Wire
Anneka Rice arrives for the Service of Thanksgiving for Sir Terry Wogan at Westminster Abbey, London. Photo: Hannah McKay/PA Wire

Fellow broadcaster Ruth Langsford said she would always recall the DJ and TV host as a family man, explaining that he did not have showbiz photos around his home because "his joy was his family".

Jo Whiley said: "He was one of a kind. He was the one who taught us broadcasters how to be broadcasters. And he was such a fine example of a man."

Chris Evans speaks during the Service of Thanksgiving for Sir Terry Wogan at Westminster Abbey, London. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire
Chris Evans speaks during the Service of Thanksgiving for Sir Terry Wogan at Westminster Abbey, London. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Lady Susan Hussey, the Queen's Lady-in-Waiting, represented her at the service.

Sir Terry Wogan, who died in January after a brief battle with cancer
Sir Terry Wogan, who died in January after a brief battle with cancer

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