Abbey Celebrates the Life of Sir Terry Wogan

A Service of Thanksgiving for the Life and Work of Sir Terry Wogan KBE DL was held at Westminster Abbey at Noon on Tuesday 27th September 2016.

Her Majesty The Queen was represented by the Lady Susan Hussey GCVO; HRH The Duchess of Cornwall was represented by the Marchioness of Lansdowne; HRH The Princess Royal was represented by the Honourable Dame Shân Legge-Bourke; HRH The Duke of Kent was represented by Nicolas Adamson CVO OBE; and TRH Prince and Princess Michael of Kent were represented by the Lady Fellowes of West Stafford LVO. The National Anthem was sung.

The service was conducted by the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, who said in his Bidding: 'Terry Wogan was a legend in his own lifetime. After his death, one paper said of him, ‘Principled but self-deprecating, opinionated but generous, and never inclined to take himself seriously, he dominated the airwaves for decades. There’ll never be another Wogan, and those of us who grew up with him feel his loss very keenly.’

'Other broadcasters during this service will speak of his particular gifts. Perhaps they are best encapsulated in the words he addressed to his listeners when he signed off from his daily show. ‘If anybody embodies the generous, warm spirit of this country, it is you, my listeners’, he said. But as he spoke of them, he spoke too of himself.

'Still feeling his loss, we come today to remember. But may we above all celebrate his life, give thanks to God for his gifts, and pray that the generous, warm spirit he demonstrated so powerfully might never fade away in this country, in these islands.'

The Address was given by The Lord Hall of Birkenhead CBE, Director-General of the BBC.

His Eminence Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, Archbishop Emeritus of Westminster, read 1 Chronicles 16: 8-13, 23-24; and Stevie Spring, Chairman of BBC Children in Need, read St Mark 10: 13-21.

Chris Evans read a Tribute. Ken Bruce read The Song of Wandering Aengus by W B Yeats, and Joanna Lumley OBE read her poem, For the Former Greatest Living Irishman, written especially for the service with Richard Stilgoe.

There were performances by singers Katie Melua and Peter Gabriel.

The prayers were led by the Reverend Paul Arbuthnot, Minor Canon and Sacrist, and said by: Alan Wogan, son; Mark Wogan, son; Katherine Cripps, daughter; and the Reverend Professor Vernon White, Canon in Residence.

The service was sung by the Choir of Westminster Abbey conducted by James O'Donnell, Organist and Master of the Choristers. The organ was played by Daniel Cook, Sub-Organist, and before the service by Matthew Jorysz, Assistant Organist.

BBC Concert Orchestra played before and after the service.

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© 2017 The Dean and Chapter of Westminster

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