Ribble Valley businessman pays tribute to his friend and celebrity David Gest

Kevin Horkin with his friend David Gest. (s)
Kevin Horkin with his friend David Gest. (s)
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Businessman Kevin Horkin has paid tribute to entertainer and music producer David Gest, who was found dead at a London hotel this week, as “one of the most genuinely nice men” he has ever met.

Mr Horkin had been friends with the American entertainer for a decade after they met through former Coronation Street and Benidorm star Denise Welch.

I am genuinely so sad that he has gone.

Kevin Horkin

Multi-millionarie businessman Mr Horkin said today: “David was a lovely, gentle soul who was so kind and also very funny yet he never realised that.

“He grew up with and knew some of he world’s superstars, including Michael Jackson and Elizabeth Taylor, and he had some fascinating stories to tell. He was an extremely interesting man.”

The celebrity had visited the Ribble Valley on many occasions and was the surprise guest at the 2012 Ribble Valley Chamber of Trade ball. He also came to the area to support Mr Horkin in his campaign to become the Police and Crime Commissioner for Lancashire four years ago.

Mr Horkin, a former Mayor of Clitheroe, who owns nine opticians and country-wear stores across the North West, said: “David was a very quiet and thoughtful person and an extremely loyal and good friend who showed me a great deal of support and whenever I was in London we always used to meet for dinner.

“I am genuinely so sad that he has gone.”

Mr Gest was found dead in the Four Seasons hotel in Canary Wharf on Tuesday. He was 62.

A post mortem is due to be held to establish the cause of death. The former husband of singer Liza Minnelli, David Gest had forged a reputation as a successful music producer in the UK.

He had sparked concerns for his health when he appeared in the Celebrity Big Brother house in January and had to be placed in a separate room to rest after becoming unwell. He then had to leave the house after just 13 days due to unspecified medical reasons. He was also the fourth runner-up in the 2006 series of I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!, where he proved to be a popular contestant with fellow stars and also the public who took him to their hearts.