A regional daily picture editor who appeared as a Blind Date contestant in the 1990s has paid tribute to much-loved entertainer Cilla Black following her death.
The singer and entertainer died at her holiday home in Spain on Saturday at the age of 72 and it was revealed yesterday that she died from a stroke.
She appeared on the show in 1993 and even went on a three-day trip to Spain with her date – although she said there were no magic sparks between them.
Victoria was selected to appear on the show after applying so she could report on it for the newspaper she worked for at the time, Exeter’s Express and Echo.
Recalling the time she met Cilla, she wrote: “It was clear that she was in charge as she gently ushered me over to perch on the famous ‘picker’s’ stool.
“She hadn’t seen me beforehand but it captivated me how she made it sound like we had been friends forever.
“I was fascinated, star struck and scared to say something silly and it was all such a huge thrill.
“I told her a bit about my life and she giggled and egged me on for more as if she was gossiping down the local shop.
“There were no second takes for cupid Cilla as everything went smoothly.”
Victoria flew to Nerja in Spain with her date Johnny for three days, where they took part in paella-making, paragliding and go-karting but love failed to bloom for them.
However, Victoria saw Cilla again when she was working as a photographer for the Express and Echo a year later, when the star was guest of honour at a Blind Date wedding.
She also saw the showbiz legend one more time in Gibraltar in around 2001 when she spoke to her about her time on the TV show.
Victoria added: “Lots of celebrities and fans have spoken about her having the ‘girl next door’ style and I can certainly testify to that.
“She was our Cilla, I am so pleased to have met her and I will miss her just as millions will.”
Meanwhile, the Liverpool Echo published a special edition to mark the death of Cilla, who was one of the city’s biggest stars.
The regional daily published a special edition on Monday, pictured below, with five pages of tributes to her.
The title also featured her death on Tuesday’s front page and has opened an online book of condolence in memory of Cilla.