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Sir Terry Wogan statue unveiled in Limerick

Bronze sculpture of Sir Terry Wogan Image copyright Alan Place
Image caption The sculpture has been erected at Harvey's Quay in Limerick, on the banks of the Shannon

A statue of the late BBC broadcaster, Sir Terry Wogan, has been unveiled in his native Limerick in the Republic of Ireland.

Sir Terry died 18 months ago at the age of 77, following a short illness.

He was born in 1938 in Limerick, where his father was a grocery shop manager.

On Saturday, the mayor of Limerick unveiled a bronze sculpture of the radio and TV host at Harvey's Quay, on the banks of the river Shannon.

"Today, we honour a man who, certainly across the water, was our greatest export," said Mayor Kieran O'Hanlon.

"There was a huge outpouring of grief when Terry passed away last year and it is only fitting that we remember him in his home city.

"Terry has a special place in our hearts, and I hope those memories can be re-lived by fans with the unveiling of this sculpture, right in the heart of the city of his birth."

Image copyright Alan Place
Image caption Mayor of the City and County of Limerick, Kieran O’Hanlon, unveiled the statue

The life-size statue was created by Rory Breslin, a bronze sculptor who is responsible for a a number of public artworks in Ireland and abroad.

'Challenge'

He said it was an hour to be commissioned to sculpt "such an iconic figure".

"As Limerick is his home place I want to celebrate the man's skills but also to see the relaxed Terry, engaging and familiar to us all", Mr Breslin said.

"He was a genial man, quick to smile, cheerful and warm. I hope this piece conveys that.

"That is the challenge in making a sculpture like this - to capture the nature of the person and to make sure it works in the context it will be located."

Sir Terry's family moved from Limerick to Dublin in 1953, where after a brief spell in banking, the future star got a job as a newsreader with Irish broadcaster, RTÉ.

He later moved to London and found fame with the BBC, where his Irish charm and humour won him a legion of fans.

The broadcaster's wry wit also made him a popular commentator on the Eurovision song contest.

As well as hosting game shows, and his own TV chat show, he presented the annual charity telethon, Children in Need, for more than three decades.

Image caption Sir Terry continued to host Children in Need after his official retirement

In the 1990s he began a long spell hosting his Radio 2 breakfast show, where his audience became known as TOGs, Terry's Old Geezers or Terry's Old Gals.

Both the Queen and Margaret Thatcher were reported to be regular listeners, as Sir Terry cemented his place in British popular culture.

'Pride'

The father of three, who had made his home in England, was knighted at Buckingham Palace in 2005.

He also attended Mrs Thatcher's funeral at the invitation of her family.

During his long career, Sir Terry's fame did not go unrecognised in his home city.

The University of Limerick awarded him an honorary doctorate in 2004 and he was granted the Freedom of Limerick in 2007.

For the city's latest tribute to its famous son, large crowds attended the unveiling ceremony, including some of his BBC colleagues.

Image copyright Alan Place
Image caption The sculptor said he tried to capture Sir Terry's "cheerful and warm" personality

"Terry was always spoken about with pride," said Josephine Cotter Coughlan, Limerick City and County Council's director of culture.

"He was a Limerick person who succeeded on the international stage but never forgot his roots,"

"We are delighted to commemorate and celebrate a proud son of Limerick. We are paying tribute to him as a person but also a broadcaster who had a special connection with his audience."

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