John Barrowman’s singing surprise for Wakefield hospice’s Terry

Terry Rigg retiring from Wakefield Hospice.
Terry Rigg retiring from Wakefield Hospice.
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Wakefield Hospice’s former fundraiser Terry Rigg got the surprise of his life when it was secretly arranged for him to appear on a primetime BBC television show.

Unsuspecting Mr Rigg went along to a recording of Tonight’s the Night - the show where flamboyant host John Barrowman helps make dreams come true with once-in-a-lifetime performances for ordinary people.

Each week audience members are invited onto the stage where their hidden talents are uncovered or heroic qualities rewarded.

Mr Rigg, who recently retired after 18 years raising around £1.5m for the Aberford Road hospice, attended the recording on Sunday, July 31, with his wife Susan and two friends - who were in on the ruse to reward Mr Rigg for his dedication over the years.

When Mr Barrowman came up the steps into the studio audience and said he wanted to meet a retired hospice worker, Mr Rigg couldn’t believe it until he pointed to him.

Mr Rigg, 69, of Thornes, said: “I was gob-smacked. It was a complete surprise and I didn’t expect it at all.

“It was an emotional moment and a wonderful experience.”

He was interviewed about his work for the hospice and spoke about the Sunrise Rose, which he arranged to celebrate the hospice’s 20th anniversary.

There was even a video message secretly recorded by Mrs Rigg, the couple’s sons and a group of friends.

Mrs Rigg had sent the show a list of Mr Rigg’s favourite songs and in keeping with the charity work, Mr Barrowman selected to sing The Rose.

Halfway through the song Terry was joined on stage by around 20 hospice staff and friends, who he was unaware had accompanied him to the recording and as his confidence grew, he even joined in with the singing too.

Mrs Rigg found it hard to keep it all a secret from her husband and had to keep him away from the studio while hospice staff practised their performance.

She said: “It was one of the most nerve-wracking moments.”

The show was broadcast last Saturday.