Scottish Widow never forgets a face

HER enigmatic smile as the black-cloaked woman in the classic Scottish Widows adverts made her one of the best-known faces on television.

Since filming her last advert a year ago, Amanda Lamb has gone on to establish herself as a presenter and television personality.

But her connection with the Edinburgh insurance company has not been forgotten.

And yesterday she visited its Morrison Street headquarters as guest of honour for a thank-you lunch to celebrate her tenure of more than ten years as "the Scottish Widow".

There the 33-year-old former model recalled how she once pulled on roller blades to film one of the adverts.

She decided to try the skates after being told by celebrated fashion photographer David Bailey she would have to "glide" across the floor.

The tongue-in-cheek attempt never made it to the screen, although it had the model and crew in stitches, before it was reshot with her walking gracefully.

"It was one called 'Lights' and they wanted me to sort of glide across the screen, so I brought my roller blades with me," she said.

Ms Lamb shot several of the adverts over the ten years, in locations as varied as a traditional maze and a windswept lighthouse - many of them captured by Bailey.

"My favourite was probably the lighthouse one, my last one, because that was great fun to film. It's such an amazing brand and I'm very proud to be associated with them," she said.

Fresh from her appearance in the hit Channel 4 show The Games - where she competed on the athletics track against fellow celebrities including Bernie Nolan and Michelle Gayle - the visit was an emotional one for Ms Lamb.

Over the decade-long advertising campaign, as well as TV commercials she undertook many personal appearances at business dinners and events for the firm.

A former estate agent-turned-model from Portsmouth, in 1994 Ms Lamb took up the "Scottish Widow" mantle from her predecessor, Debbie Moore, daughter of James Bond actor Roger, who launched the first ever campaign in 1986.

She has been succeeded by newly-appointed "Widow", Hayley Hunt, a 22-year-old model from Surrey.

Ms Lamb, who presents overseas property show A Place in the Sun for Channel 4, said it was an emotional experience being back in Edinburgh, seeing many of the people she worked with over the ten-year period.

"I'm completely gobsmacked by it all," she said. "It's a lovely gesture and it's very, very kind of them. It's been a fantastic ten years and I've loved every second of it, so it's great to go out with a bang, so to speak.

"I just hope I can manage to get through today without bawling my eyes out. It's pretty emotional."

Currently in the throes of a house-move from Twickenham to nearby Richmond in Surrey, Ms Lamb is soon to start filming the latest eight-episode series of A Place in the Sun from next month.

Scottish Widows marketing director, Mike Hoban, said Ms Lamb would be a hard act to follow as the "face" of the brand.

"Amanda is a class act and a difficult one to follow.

"It was all about her confidence, her peace of mind and her serenity, and there's also an enigmatic sense to her too."

He added that the search for her successor had begun in Scotland, but that Ms Hunt had been deemed the best person for the job.

Appointed last September, she has already appeared in press advertising, and her first television commercial will hit the screens in October.

"Hayley's got to pick up that mantle," said Mr Hoban. "But she's already proven that she was a great choice to take over from Amanda."

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