John Gibson: This bloke’s been around by George!

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There’s a small hotel with a wishing well. No there isn’t. Not in Edinburgh. It’s the first line from an evergreen song by Rodgers and Hart and sung by Sinatra in Pal Joey. But there’s a 249-room hotel in Edinburgh that can turn David Welch all rhapsodic.

He has managed the George these last eight years until he retires at 58 next month. Seen a raft of changes as the George expanded sideways and upwards to the “Panorama” seven storeys up with panoramic vistas of Edinburgh the likes of which I’d never seen to rival since Harvey Nicks where in-with-bricks director Gordon Drummond, having masterminded the refurb of the restaurant/bar, remains intensely possessive about St Andrew Square.

Chester-born David Welch has been in hotels from 15. Little he doesn’t know about the industry. Worked in and around Manchester and Birmingham. First stop up here the Mount Royal in Princes Street 1985-89, on to the Scandic Crowne/Plaza before the George in 2005.

An anecdote to recall involving Prince Philip, a guest at the Scandic Crowne, but to be saved, stored for the memoirs.

PH Hotels, the George’s owners, have offered him consultancy work in his retirement that will keep him domiciled in Edinburgh. What he thinks of Princes Street, George Street and pollution in our city centre is for future columns.

Five star news

Last of the legendary line. Delighted to relate that Lawrie Reilly, who alone has survived his Famous Five Hibernian team-mates, is “progressing well” in the Western General. Wife Iris tells me from their home: “Lawrie wasn’t well enough to go to Hampden for the cup final and, as you know, he rarely missed a match at Easter Road this past season. But we’re all cracking on, aren’t we?” Lawrie is 84.