John Gibson: Memories of Pete will be blessing

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What more could Val Clark say of her husband, Pete, whose funeral will be held at Mortonhall at four tomorrow? “I feel blessed that he chose me.”

Pete, 66, and Val, 55, had been married 30 years and latterly were living in Florida, on Anna Maria Island in the Gulf of Mexico where they had all but completed a new house that was to be their shangri-la.

“Pete had a lengthy stomach problem,” explained Val, “and he had surgery here before returning to Florida and last month a diagnosis left us with scant hope. He’d begun walking with a limp and they’d been treating him for sciatica.

“We had two daughters, Tori, aged 27, who works in Edinburgh and Sophie, 24, who has come over from Paris. I’ll be going back to live in the house that Pete and I built, so to speak.”

Pete had a men’s clothing shop in the West Bow and was an icon in Edinburgh for his style and flair for design. He and Val first met at the shop and he and Charlie Miller, who had his first hairdressing premises at Prestonfield while Pete had moved up to Rose Street with his shop, were pals for 45 years.

Says Charlie, shocked at the news of Pete’s death: “Pete undeniably was a one-off. I just hope I’m not too emotional at Mortonhall.”

Rippon yarns

I shouldn’t be surprised if the thigh-slapping, all-dancing divorcee Angela Rippon, for whom these are renaissance days, hogs the front pages with a new romance – with the man who has airbrushed her almost beyond recognition.

There’s a lot of airbrushing about, you’ve noticed.