Sunday 4 December 2016

Wogan's Westminster Abbey memorial highlights the English approach to death

Published 12/09/2016 | 02:30

There’s a real cultural difference between an Irish funeral and an English memorial service. Photo credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
There’s a real cultural difference between an Irish funeral and an English memorial service. Photo credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Fans of Terry Wogan - or, as he is now described on this side of the pond, Sir Terence Wogan KBE DL - may set their diaries for September 27, when the great Limerick broadcaster will receive the final accolade that a nation's establishment can bestow: a formal memorial service at Westminster Abbey in London.

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There, between the tombs of monarchs and the ashes of Charles Darwin, Isaac Newton, William Gladstone, Geoffrey Chaucer, William Congreve, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, Rudyard Kipling, Laurence Olivier, Alfred Lord Tennyson and more, Sir Terry will be duly honoured in the style which the English like best: the formal, full-dress requiem. (Tickets were available through a ballot system via the Westminster Abbey website, but, alas, the service is now fully booked. Never mind: it will be broadcast on the BBC, hosted by Jeremy Vine.)

Terry, so far as I know, was not a religious believer - according to reports, his wife Helen kept the old faith, while Terry moved towards scepticism.

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