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Service of Thanksgiving for the Life and Work of Sir Charles Wheeler CMG

Tuesday, 20th January 2009

Service of Thanksgiving for the Life and Work of Sir Charles Wheeler CMG

A Service of Thanksgiving for the Life and Work of Sir Charles Wheeler CMG was held at Westminster Abbey on Tuesday 20th January 2009.

As a BBC television correspondent, Sir Charles Wheeler’s authoritative reporting from America, Berlin and Asia made him a household name.
He was appointed CMG in 2001 and knighted in 2006. He died last July aged 85.

The service was conducted by the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall who said in his Bidding:

Charles Wheeler’s distinguished sixty-year broadcasting career remains focussed in the public memory in America during the Johnson and Nixon presidencies but had much wider resonance. We honour his service with the Royal Marines. Above all we honour his humanity: his honesty, his lack of grandeur, his work for human rights, and his keen desire to expose injustice; his inner peace and love of gardening; his devotion as a kind father and loving husband.

Addresses were given by Tim Gardam, Principal of St Anne’s College, Oxford and Mark Thompson, Director-General of the BBC who said:

Charles Wheeler was the finest reporter in the BBC's history. He told so much of the story of the 20th century.

Tributes were paid by the daughters of Sir Charles Wheeler, Shirin and Marina.

Hywel Ceri Jones, former Director General for Social Policy with the European Commission, read So Many Different Lengths of Time by Brian Patten and Dame Jenny Abramasky, former Director of BBC Audio & Music and Chair of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, read Isaiah 61: 1-3. Annabel Harris read Musée des Beaux Arts by W.H. Auden. Prayers were led by the Reverend Michael Macey, Minor Canon of Westminster.

The service was sung by the Abbey’s Special Service Choir conducted by Robert Quinney, Sub Organist. The organ was played by James McVinnie, Assistant Organist. The Band of the Royal Marines conducted by Major Nicholas Grace also played.

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I’ve worked here for over thirty years and have seen many of the major services - it’s strange to realise that you are in a small way part of history.

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