NEWS
18/05/2012 08:40 BST | Updated 18/05/2012 08:42 BST

Famous Last Words: Nation Votes For Spike Milligan's 'I Told You I Was Ill'

An epitaph offers the final chance to impress the world with your wit and wisdom - and the nation has voted Spike Milligan's "I told you I was ill" as its darkly favourite inscription.

The survey, conducted by Marie Curie Cancer Care, was organised as part of Dying Matters awareness week, an event that encourages people to be open about death and sign up as an organ donor.

Oscar Wilde and Frank Sinatra's last testament were the second favourites. Whilst Wildean wit lambasts the decor, with "either those curtains go or I do", Sinatra's epitaph croons "the best is yet to come."

The 'man of a thousand voices' Mel Blanc slips in to fourth place with 'That's all folks', commonly seen at the end of Looney tunes. Blanc voiced Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Tweety Bird and Barney Rubble from the Flintstones.

That really is all folks

Comedian Frank Carson took fifth place with an understated "what a way to lose weight" while Churchill took sixth with rather longer (but extremely eloquent) rubric: "I am ready to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter."

Dorothy Parker's final pun, "Involved in a plot" didn't make the grade, but Bogart's gentlemanly "I should never have switched from Scotch to Martinis" slipped into ninth.

Twitter users and celebrities have been weighing in with their own epitaphs under the hashtag #1lasttweet, with a few famous names offering up their preferred rhymes.

Ann Widdecombe penned a political elegy for Marie Curie, writing “Go tell the chief whip, passers-by, that here, alack, unpaired I lie.”

Stephen Fry produced a hijacked offering “With thanks to the ingraver for speling my epitarf properly.”

Talking about epitaphs will lead to important conversation about dying, Imelda Redmond, Director of Policy and Public Affairs at Marie Curie Cancer Care, said.

"For most people death is too uncomfortable a subject to talk about. It’s really important that people discuss things like where they would like to spend their final moments with friends and loved ones.

As difficult as these conversations are, the more open people are about their end of life wishes, the more likely it is that these wishes can be met.”

Take a look at some of the other offerings on Twitter below. What would your epitaph be?