Spike Milligan's epitaph 'I told you I was ill' voted best ever
COMEDIAN Spike Milligan’s infamous epitaph "I told you I was ill" has been named most people’s favourite, according to new research.
The Goon Show creator, who died in 2002 aged 83, received nearly two thirds of the vote in the new survey.
His words of wisdom was voted ahead of Oscar Wilde’s "Either those curtains go or I do" and Frank Sinatra’s "The best is yet to come" by a considerable margin.
One in 10 voters chose Wilde's while seven per cent voted for Sinatra's.
Next was Mel Blanc's "that's all folks", followed by Frank Carson with "what a way to lose weight’ while Winston Churchill was next.
The former British Prime Minister finished sixth with: "I am ready to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter."
The survey also asked celebrities who remain alive to disclose how they wished to be remembered. Among them was Stephen Fry who wanted his to say: "With thanks to the ingraver for speling my epitarf propperly (all sic)."
The survey was carried out by for Marie Curie Cancer Care as part of Dying Matters Awareness week, which aims to encourage people to talk more openly about dying and consider becoming an organ donor.
"Spike Milligan’s epitaph is legendary and many of the great comics and writers have been immortalised by their epitaphs," said Imelda Redmond, of the Marie Curie Cancer Care.
"It’s really important that people discuss things like where they would like to spend their final moments with friends and loved ones.
"We know that most people would like to be cared for at home at the end of their lives for instance, but the majority of deaths still occur in hospital – the place people least want to be."
She added: "As difficult as these conversations are, the more open people are about their end of life wishes, the more likely it is that these wishes can be met."
The Dying Matters Coalition aims to help transform public attitudes towards dying, death and bereavement.
Led by the National Council for Palliative Care, it has more than 16,000 members including charities, care homes, hospices, GPs, funeral directors and legal and financial organisations.
Eve Richardson, the coalition's chief executive added: "How we are remembered after we die lives on in the memories of those still alive, which is why it’s so important we discuss our end of life wishes while we can and make clear our preferences.
"By talking more openly about dying and end of life issues we stand the best chance of ensuring we don’t die with regrets or leave a mess behind for those close to us.
"That’s why we want as many people as possible to discuss their end of life wishes and to take small actions that can make a big difference such as registering to become an organ donor, writing a will or making an effort to speak to anyone they know who is nearing their end of their life or who has been bereaved.”
The survey came from a Facebook poll with 574 responses.
THE TOP 10 'FAVOURITE' EPITAPHS
"I told you I was ill"
"Either those curtains go or I do"
"The best is yet to come"
"That's all, folks!"
"What a way to lose weight"
"I am ready to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter"
“I may be gone but Rock and Roll lives on”
“She did it the hard way”
"I should never have switched from Scotch to Martinis"
"Please keep off the grass"
OTHER CELEBRITY EPITAPHS
“With thanks to the ingraver for speling my epitarf propperly”
“Go tell the chief whip, passers-by, that here, alack, unpaired I lie.”
“So would you call THIS ‘man flu’?”
“One place I don’t need my lipstick”
“I'd live my life exactly the same again. Except three inches shorter.”
“Unbelievable, Jeff – I've gone!”
“She made a difference”
“Please can I try again?”
“Well now I have Cold Feet” –
“Surely there’s been some mistake”