As the nation mourns TV legend Cilla Black following her death over the weekend, a postman from Luton has felt her loss all the more keenly.
David Peck, 66, appeared on Blind Date in 1993 and maintained a special friendship with the iconic singer and TV presenter for over 20 years.
Speaking to Luton News on Monday, he described Cilla, 72, as a warm character who knew how to put everyone at ease.
He said: “With Cilla, what you saw was what you got. In the studio she was like a mum collaborating with the guests.
“She was in company with people like Sir Cliff Richard and Christopher Biggins, and she talked to me like I was as important as them.
“She had no boundaries in who she would be herself with.”
David’s appearance on the show coincided with Cilla’s mother’s final illness, and he attributes that tough time with cementing a long friendship.
Last year he suffered a triple heart bypass and was cheered to receive a get well message from the entertainer.
Speaking about his time on the show, he said: “I remember Eileen [his date] saying to me, ‘I don’t fancy you’, and I said, ‘Just go along with it’.
“We were on the beach in Antigua, Eileen was coming out the sea and asked why didn’t I come in for a swim.
“I had a thong on and a bandana, and I said, ‘posers don’t swim’.”
The outrageous incident was later selected among Cilla’s favourite moments in a TV special.
David revealed that the episode, from November 18, 1993, received the highest ratings in the season.
To date, David has appeared in five dating programmes and auditioned for Big Brother in 2002. You can watch his memorable appearance on Blind Date here.