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Sir Terry Wogan remembered at star-studded memorial service: 'He was the best'

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A host of stars turned out to remember Sir Terry Wogan at a special celebratory memorial service on Tuesday.Joanna Lumley, Chris Evans and Peter Gabriel were among the famous faces who attended the ceremony at Westminster Abbey, which took place on the 50th anniversary of Sir Terry's first BBC radio broadcast.

The Queen was represented at the service by her lady-in-waiting, Lady Susan Hussey.

evans1© Photo: Getty Images

Chris Evans led the tributes to Sir Terry Wogan at a special memorial service

Sir Terry's velvety tones were heard echoing around the Abbey as archive footage played out while his loved ones took their seats – including the moment he signed off from his Radio 2 breakfast show for the final time, telling his loyal listeners, "Thank you for being my friend".

Chris Evans, who took over from Sir Terry on the breakfast show, was among those who paid tribute at the ceremony. "Terry Wogan wasn't the best – he is the best, and he will always be the best," he said of the star, who passed away in January at the age of 77.

Chris, who appeared emotional as his tribute drew to a close, also revealed Sir Terry's best piece of advice to him on radio broadcasting – "'They either like you, or they don't.' Of course he was exactly right."


Peter Gabriel performed That'll Do - Sir Terry's favourite Desert Island Disc track

BBC director general Tony Hall told the congregation that "the bedrock of his (Sir Terry's) life was his family". He also spoke of the broadcaster's "numerous" Eurovision quips, adding: "My own favourite comes from 2007, when he announced as the coverage began: 'Who knows what hellish future lies ahead? Actually I do, I've seen the rehearsals!"'

He concluded: "Thank you, Sir Terry, on behalf of everyone at the BBC, and all your audiences, for giving us so much sheer, unalloyed joy."

During the service, Peter Gabriel performed the song That'll Do, which Sir Terry chose as his favourite Desert Island Disc tack in 2012. Katie Melua, whom Sir Terry championed on his show, sang an acoustic version of her hit The Closest Thing to Crazy.

lumley1© Photo: Getty Images

Joanna Lumley read a poem she had written especially for the event

Radio 2 presenter Ken Bruce read the WB Yeats poem The Song of Wandering Aengus, while actress Joanna recited a poem she had written with Richard Stilgoe especially for the event, titled For the Former Greatest Living Irishman.

"How shall I praise him? Let me count the ways/ I think he was the tops, the cat's miaow; For pity's sake, who else would you allow to mutter in your ear each dawn of days/ Just rambling on with nothing on his mind," it began.

Sir Terry's children Alan, Mark and Katherine read prayers for their father and archive recordings of Sir Terry were played throughout the event.


Sir Terry's family: wife Lady Helen and their three children, Katherine, Alan and Mark

Other guests included Fearne Cotton, Dermot O'Leary, Alan Titchmarsh, Tess Daly, Alesha Dixon, Maureen Lipman, Esther Rantzen, Gaby Roslin, June Whitfield, Jimmy Tarbuck, Simon Mayo, Aled Jones and Rory Bremner.

Shortly before the service got underway, Gloria Hunniford told the BBC: "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.

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

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