John Gibson: Tommy’s tinkled all his life

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Tommy Mitchell has been tinkling most of his life – he has just hit four score – at the piano. The keyboards have brought his a “pretty fair” living, from his mid teens.

He was training as a cabinet maker when he joined the resident big dance band at the Burntisland Palais.

As a National Servicemen he served in Iraq in an RAF band.

Demobbed, he played resident at Gleneagles and transferred to sister hotel the Caley in home town Edinburgh in 1985.

“I reluctantly gave up music for health reasons,” says Tommy, who managed the piano department in Grants, a major furniture store on the corner of the Royal Mile and North Bridge, “but I have a recording studio at home and a still, as you say, tinkle occasionally.’’

A chip off the piano-playing block, his son Stuart, a pianist and composer, had much to do with the musical renaissance of Roslyn Chapel.

Afterwords . .

. . . was that the same bright-as-a-button Zara Phillips – heavens, we’re talking about the Queen’s grand-daughter – who spilled out of a Mayfair night spot in the early hours? The same Zara who wed at the Canongate Kirk. She looked the worse for wear and she’d never have got past the police cordon at the kirk in that state.