Gaynor puts differences aside to invite Cook's ex to funeral
GRIEVING Gaynor Cook has put aside any differences with her husband's ex-wife and invited her to the former Foreign Secretary's funeral.
Margaret Cook said she would only attend Friday's service at Edinburgh's St Giles' Cathedral with Gaynor's blessing.
Robin Cook's friends said his widow made the move to welcome Margaret despite suggestions his sons forced the issue.
Jim Devine, the former Livingston MP's agent and close friend, said: "It was Gaynor that suggested it."
Dr Cook, whose 28-year marriage to the former Foreign Secretary ended in an acrimonious divorce after he left her for his secretary Gaynor, had previously expressed a wish to attend, but insisted she would not do so without Gaynor's blessing.
The former haematologist, who worked at St John's Hospital in Livingston, said her role would be to support her two sons by Mr Cook, Christopher, 31, and Peter, 32, who are expected to perform readings at the service.
It was not clear today whether she would join the family after the service at St Giles' for the private burial they have planned or attend a reception at the City Chambers.
The location of the burial has not been disclosed for security reasons.
Both Mr Cook's parents, Christina and Peter, are buried at Kirkcudbright Parish Church in Dumfries and Galloway. His father became rector at the local academy after leaving his teaching post at Edinburgh's Royal High School in the 1960s.
Dr Cook was reported to have suggested that her sons had demanded she was invited.
She reportedly said: "I don't think there was ever any doubt I would be attending. This was not just up to Gaynor. My sons had a big say in this."
Asked whether there had been some resistance from the second Mrs Cook to her attendance, she said: "I don't think it is an appropriate time to discuss this."
The Cook's marriage broke up when he dumped her for his secretary at a VIP lounge at Heathrow Airport just before a family holiday in 1997.
She said she had made her peace with her former husband.
The funeral service is to be broadcast live by both the BBC and Sky TV. Around 700 people will be invited to St Giles, where the capacity has been reduced by renovation work. Mourners will be invited afterwards to the City Chambers, where Mr Cook began his political career.
The former Livingston MP's family have asked for family flowers only at Friday's service and personal donations to the mental welfare charity Mind.
Mr Devine said both Mr and Mrs Cook had supported the charity which they felt was a "Cinderella" cause which often missed out on funding.
Officials are holding talks with police to discuss security arrangements. Fringe performers are to be banned from a stretch of the Royal Mile during the funeral on Friday at 11am.
As well as a host of Cabinet ministers, several foreign governments are expected to send representatives to the invitation-only service.
Tony Blair will not break off his summer holiday to attend but Gordon Brown, the Chancellor,, will deliver the main eulogy.
Mr Cook, who was 59, died last Saturday while hill walking in the Highlands.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Sunday 26 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 15 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 8 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 18 mph
Wind direction: South