On the 31 January 2016 veteran BBC broadcaster Sir Terry Wogan passed away aged 77 after a short battle with cancer. He is the third British icon to lose his life to cancer this January after the terrible losses of Alan Rickman and David Bowie.
Born in Limerick, Ireland, Wogan enjoyed a fruitful career on both radio and television that spanned over five decades, with shows such as Wake Up to Wogan on BBC Radio 2 and the Wogan chat show on BBC1. He also hosted the UK’s Eurovision Song Contest radio commentary several times between 1971-1977 before becoming the full-time television commentator from 1980 until 2008.
Perhaps what Sir Terry is most notably known for is his involvement in Children in Need. A part of the appeal since it began in 1980, Wogan helped raise hundreds of millions of pounds for the charity by campaigning and involving himself in auctions and other sponsored events. He even participated in a celebrity edition of the television game show Pointless alongside Bobby Ball and Esther Rantzen in aid of the Children in Need charity. In 2008 Sir Terry and singer Aled Jones released the single Little Drummer Boy, which reached number three in the UK charts; all the proceeds from the single went towards the charity.
In addition to his work on radio and television, Sir Terry appeared on numerous television shows including Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, Top Gear, Being Human and Never Mind the Buzzcocks.
Sir Terry’s work on television and radio was recognised in 1997 when he was appointed OBE and then elevated to KBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2005. Later, after asserting his right to British citizenship, his knighthood was made substantive, allowing him to use the title of Sir. His home city of Limerick honoured him with an honorary Doctor of Letters (D.Litt) degree from the University of Limerick in 2004, followed by the Freedom of the City in 2007.
BBC Radio 2 controller Bob Shennan told the BBC that Terry was ‘one of the greatest and most popular radio hosts this country has ever heard’. And, according to the Guardian, Jeremy Vine finds that Wogan was “just a gorgeous man, a brilliant broadcaster, probably the greatest broadcaster since the invention of the microphone”.
Sir Terry touched so many hearts across the country with his wonderful sense of humour and his ability to bring joy to those who needed it the most. During his life he made a difference to the world and it’s almost impossible to quantify what he achieved. He will be sorely missed.