Second blue plaque to honour Peter Cook – this time, his lifelong support of Torquay United

Torbay Weekly

Having found and spoken to Ian Hislop, editor of Private Eye and presenter of TV's Have I Got News For You, he kindly provided me with the private telephone number of Peter Cook's widow, Lin.
This led to my first meeting with Lin in London to organise our first blue plaque to comedian and writer Peter at his birthplace Villa Shearbridge, today Kinbrea, in Middle Warberry Road, Torquay.
On re-meeting Lin again in Torquay and with the first plaque unveiled, later in London we started to discuss a second plaque, although on this occasion I knew it was unlikely Lin would be able to join us at Torquay United Football Club for the ceremony to honour Peter, a one-time chairman of the Gulls' Junior Football Sports Club.
As a lifelong supporter of the football club, Peter would often be seen on television sporting the famous yellow scarf and, on one occasion in 1989, even joining the fans at the Wembley Stadium for the Sherpa Van Trophy final against Bolton Wanderers.
Peter Edward Cook was born at Shearbridge on November 17, 1937, the first of three children of Ethel C Margaret and Alexander Cook.
His two sisters Sarah and Elizabeth later confirmed: "Peter was incredibly idealistic... very tense but brilliant and that brilliance was magnetic. We lived together in a single room in this defunct old pub and gave dinner parties where it was non-stop monologue with Peter having everybody rolling around.”  
But Peter Cook was also a loner, wanting nothing more than being the centre of attraction without which as he said – ‘he was nothing’.
He married three times, Wendy Snowden, then Judy Huxtable, who was ‘a living sex symbol he now owned’ who actually divorced him and said of this: “I recognised this was a punishment for challenging what he wanted and his control over me.”  
Then finally, Lin Chong, who, unlike his other wives, accepted Peters ‘funny quirks’ and knew he would always be attracted to pretty young women, which is why they lived separately in properties 100 yards apart in London.
Lin first came to Torbay in 1989, when she and Peter attended Oldway Registry Office for the wedding.
Afterwards, they remained in Torquay for a week, on honeymoon. Years later, Peter penned a limerick to Lin, which I think is worth including:
There was a young lady called Lin
The nicest that ever has bin,
She wasted her life, being Peter Cooks wife,
But that isn’t really a sin.
The atrabilious man from Torquay
Was affected by melancholy,
But his bile and his spleen and the bits in-between
Felt much better with wife number three.
With the second blue plaque, details agreed in London and Worthing, Lin and her daughter visited us there, as Pat and I gave a whole day for that visit, before returning them to their London train.  
Sadly, we could not know, this would be the last time we would ever spoke to her, as sometime later Lin suffered a stroke from which she never recovered.
The plaque unveiling ceremony was undertaken by the chairman of Torbay Council Ray Hill and his escort on November 21, 2015.
All attending were then allowed into Plainmoor before refreshments were served.
The pamphlet ‘Peter Cook and Torquay United’ is available by sending two second class stamps and a stamped addressed envelope to Torbay Civic Society, 4 Palace Avenue Business Centre, Paignton TQ3 3HA

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