Joanna Lumley read a poem specially written for the occasion when friends and TV personalities paid tribute to the late broadcaster Sir Terry Wogan

A host of stars arrived at Westminster Abbey to pay tribute to Sir Terry Wogan, who died at the age of 77 on January 31 this year following a battle with cancer.

Sir Terry, known for his velvety voice on radio and television, gave enjoyment to audiences over six decades, sealing his status as a national treasure.

Alan Yentob arriving at the service
Alan Yentob arriving at the service (Hannah McKay/PA)
Tess Daly arriving in Westminster
Tess Daly arriving in Westminster (Hannah McKay/PA)
Joanna Lumley will perform a poem dedicated to Sir Terry Wogan
Joanna Lumley performed a poem dedicated to Sir Terry Wogan (Hannah McKay/PA)
Actress Joanna Lumley read a new poem, co-written with songwriter Sir Richard Stilgoe, entitled For The Former Greatest Living Irishman.She compared Limerick-born Sir Terry’s voice to an ‘aural newly-ripened peach/That never spoke to all, but spoke to each’ in the poem, penned especially for the service.

“I think he was the tops, the cat’s miaow,” she said.

“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?/A brainy burbling, charming us to shreds/When we should long have risen from our beds.”

The Absolutely Fabulous actress, who provided one of Children In Need’s most memorable moments when she stripped down to her underwear on live television in 1983 as host Sir Terry pretended to yawn, added: “If he was here I’d kiss his handsome face/And tell him that they simply broke the mould/When he was made.

“He’ll never now be old/For now he’s scripted by the Holy Ghost/And billions of lost souls are feeling cosier/As, with their morning helping of ambrosia/They listen in to their new heavenly host.”

She continued: “That voice – (an aural newly-ripened peach/That never spoke to all, but spoke to each, each one he never met, but made his friend)/Now sounds for evermore, world without end.

“Oh, lucky cherubim and seraphim, with breakfast hymns forever linked by him!”

Rory Bremner arrives at the service
Rory Bremner arrives at the service (Hannah McKay/PA)

 

Alesha Dixon, Sir Terry’s former co-host of Children In Need, was also among the list of VIP guests.

She said: “I’m really fortunate that I got to work with such a great man. Everything with Sir Terry was so relaxed and so calm. He always made a joke and always made us laugh.”

Alesha Dixon worked with Sir Terry Wogan on Children in Need
Alesha Dixon worked with Sir Terry Wogan on Children in Need (Hannah McKay/PA)
Alan Titchmarsh arriving in Westminster
Alan Titchmarsh arriving in Westminster (Hannah McKay/PA)
Michael Ball and Sara Cox attend the memorial service
Michael Ball and Sara Cox attend the memorial service (Hannah McKay/PA)
Vanessa Feltz arriving at the Abbey
Vanessa Feltz arriving at the Abbey (Hannah McKay/PA)
Chris Evans and wife Natasha Shishmanian
Chris Evans and wife Natasha Shishmanian (Hannah McKay/PA)

 

TV presenter Eamonn Holmes and his wife Ruth Langsford were among the stars paying tribute to Sir Terry outside Westminster Abbey in a live broadcast for ITV ahead of a service of thanksgiving in his honour.

Ruth said that it had been a shock to hear of his death: “We hadn’t realised that he had been so unwell. It is a tribute to him how many people are turning up here, lots of his togs (Terry’s old geezers or gals) from Radio 2. So it’s not just celebrities here.”

Eamonn Holmes paid tribute to Sir Terry Wogan
Eamonn Holmes paid tribute to Sir Terry Wogan (Hannah McKay/PA)