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Broadcasting's biggest names pay tribute to Terry Wogan at emotional memorial service

By Sherna Noah

Published 28/09/2016

Helen Joyce Wogan and her children (from left) Katherine Wogan, Alan Wogan and Mark Wogan, attend a memorial service for the late Sir Terry Wogan at Westminster Abbey in London
Helen Joyce Wogan and her children (from left) Katherine Wogan, Alan Wogan and Mark Wogan, attend a memorial service for the late Sir Terry Wogan at Westminster Abbey in London
Sir Terry Wogan
Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford
Gloria Hunniford
Claudia Winkleman
Jane Asher

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

The Irish brogue of the broadcaster - who died in January after 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."

Both Belfast-educated Katie Melua and Peter Gabriel sang at the moving event, attended by Sir Terry's three children and his wife Helen, who he famously described as "the present Lady Wogan".

Melua, who shot to fame after being championed on Sir Terry's breakfast show, performed her hit The Closest Thing To Crazy.

The biggest names in broadcasting turned out for the event, A Service Of Thanksgiving For The Life And Work Of Sir Terry. They included Northern Irish broadcasters Gloria Hunniford and Eamonn Holmes, Ruth Langsford, Dermot O'Leary, Claudia Winkleman, Tess Daly, Joanna Lumley, and Jimmy Carr. Strictly Come Dancing co-host Winkleman (below), said afterwards: "I thought the service was beautiful."

The event included tributes from Terry's children and a poem co-written by actress Lumley. It ended with The Floral Dance, Sir Terry's hit from 1978.

Evans told how Sir Terry invited him for lunch when he landed the Radio 1 breakfast show, going head to head with the veteran Radio 2 star.

Evans said he was "gifted ...the single most useful piece of advice" about broadcasting "from the great man himself".

Evans asked whether "even you" have to prepare just "a little bit" for the breakfast show.

"He looked at me and said, 'It's very simple. They either like you or they don't'," Evans recounted.

"Of course, he was exactly right."

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