Funeral of Gordon Rule an occasion to fondly remember a ‘larger than life’ character

THE story that arguably raised the biggest laugh involved the observation, “Has anyone ever told you that you look like the spitting image of the Queen Mother?”, prompting the response: “I should think so, I am her sister.”

The funeral on Monday of the former deputy picture editor The Herald, Gordon Rule, was an occasion to fondly remember a man famous for, among other things, deflating any crisis by bursting into a chorus from a variety of Gilbert & Sullivan operettas.

Rule, also a photographer for many years with The Scotsman, died last week in the Southern General Hospital, Glasgow. He was 81 years-old and had suffered a number of strokes.

Says his former colleague, George Wilkie – a former picture editor at The Herald and now a lecturer at City of Glasgow College: “Gordon was a man who could only be described as ‘larger than life’. A first-class photographer, a brilliant deskman and a loyal friend, he kept me sane for many years.”

He continued: “Former Prime Minister, John Major, was once touring the newspaper. It coincided with a rather fraught day. Seeing all the new technology on the picture desk, Major shook hands with Gordon saying, ‘You must be very proud of your newspaper’. Rule gave him a long look and replied in his couthy Borders accent: ‘If you had been here yesterday the paper was unreadable in the library and unusable in lavatory.’

“He could run three minutes of spoonerisms in one breath. Looking at some halpless young reporter, he would yell: ‘We were just locked in a wee room a minute ago. Crowded it was… there was consternation running down the walls.’

And the Queen Mother story? Adds Wilkie: “Gordon and I were at some reception. He simply sidled up to the woman. Drink had been taken.”