I was at Orley Farm School in Harrow with Dale Winton and recall him being very chubby in those days, a weight issue with which he later battled and overcame.
He had a very glamorous mother who picked him up — I did not know at the time that she was an actress.
Dale was on record in recent years saying he was tired of his life and “had had enough”. This jars when one considers both his successful career and his relative youth.
However, it did reflect the inner turmoil and depression he experienced. It is all the more poignant given that so many tributes have been paid to him.
As can often be the case with those whose view of life is darkened by an overpowering blackness, he did not realise how valued he was and how many friends would have been only too willing to help him through a difficult period.
Dale also said how he hated ageing and felt his best years were behind him. There are many who might echo this of themselves but it is a tragic misperception: for although ageing certainly involves a loss of certain abilities, there can be gains and compensations too.
Ageing and being diminished are not the same — witness the number of retired people who say they are so busy that they don’t know how they ever found time for work. Ageing is as much a state of mind as a physical process but for Dale the thought of the passing years became something he feared and wanted to avoid. As with others in his situation, the great sadness is that, given a different mindset, he could have had so much longer to enjoy, and so much more to offer others.
His deliberately over-the-top style never grated because it was always accompanied by a remarkably self-deprecating style, for instance declaring: “I was born to do ‘win a fridge television’. Let’s face it, I was made for this and probably very little else.”
True or not, he will be mourned by many.