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Celebrity TV cook recalled as brilliant and contradictory

THE celebrated television cook Clarissa Dickson Wright was remembered at her funeral as a brilliant and contradictory woman.

GRIEF: Olivia Contini and Ariadne Flethcer, friends of Clarissa Dickson Wright.
GRIEF: Olivia Contini and Ariadne Flethcer, friends of Clarissa Dickson Wright.

The 66-year-old, who found fame as one of the Two Fat Ladies, died in Edinburgh on March 15.

And her love of food was highlighted at the funeral with an unusual wreath including red chillies and artichokes on top of her coffin.

Her sometimes turbulent life, which included a battle with alcohol, was remembered in a eulogy delivered at the city's St Mary's Metropolitan Cathedral by the Very Rev Monsignor Michael Regan.

"Through her education and upbringing she proved herself to be a brilliant woman and her career seemed destined for greatness, but she had the self-destruct mechanism of so many gifted people and her downward spiral is well known," he said.

"But from that downward spiral, where she found herself homeless and penniless, she learned a sympathy with others that stayed with her and through her association with Alcoholics Anonymous she found and gave strength to others."

She was a "mass of contradictions", he said.

A piper played outside the city centre church as her coffin was carried at the front of family and friends.

As a food writer and broadcaster Dickson Wright was known for her frank manner and strong opinions.

Born in London, she trained as a barrister and was the youngest woman ever to be called to the Bar.

Alcohol addiction put an end to her legal career but in the mid-1990s she was spotted by a TV producer while working in an Edinburgh cookery shop.

Teamed with the late Jennifer Paterson, the duo travelled around in a motorbike and sidecar, creating feasts as well as a hit BBC 2 series. She appeared in other shows, including Clarissa And The Countryman and Clarissa And The King's Cookbook, and served as rector of Aberdeen University.

Producer Patricia Llewellyn said following Dickson Wright's death: "She was a force of nature and a true character, someone who knew how to tell a great story and had a fabulous sense of humour."

Her agents, Heather Holden-Brown and Elly James, said: "Her fun and laughter, extraordinary learning and intelligence, will be missed always."

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