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Calm down, dears, I'm only retiring - but pile on the praise if you must

Published 9 December 2012
News Review

Michael Winner and Geraldine Michael Winner in 2008 at his west London home with Geraldine Lynton-Edwards (Dwayne Senior)

Last week Michael Winner announced he had written his final Sunday Times restaurant column because of ill health. This week we publish some of the many farewell messages readers have sent to pay tribute to his almost 20 years of unstinting, humorous and at times cantankerous service to dining out.

I have read every column you have written - and you never missed a week. What a pro you are! Many thanks for all the entertainment.
Nic Peeling, Worcestershire

The endless drivel you write about restaurants and food has kept me amused for years. Don't you dare threaten to shuffle off - either from your column or your mortal coil. You repeatedly confirm my view that even if I were rich enough to have minus £7m, or whatever your debt is these days, I wouldn't eat out for fear of bumping into you. Get fit, you old git! With much affection and wishes for your return to health - and empathy for Geraldine.
Sue Wizonski, west London

Devastated to read that last week marked your final column. I will miss very much going to the back page of News Review as my first port of call every Sunday and can only hope you "do a Frank Sinatra" and reappear in the new year. It's amazing that your often self-deprecating reviews of mostly expensive restaurants that are beyond the reach of most mortals can be so entertaining, and that Hymie, who should have no place in a food review column, completes the feast.
Norman Jay, Hertfordshire

(With apologies to Geraldine.) I shall miss my Sunday morning breakfast in bed with you. Don't leave me like this!
Sheila Taylor, East Sussex

I read with great sadness of your retirement. I shall miss your wonderfully acerbic wit and your persistent drive to remind the world's restaurants of the importance of great food and service - not one or the other. I endorse your assessment of Puny in Portofino, which gets it all right, consistently. I am sure Mrs W is right to encourage you to hang up your napkin, but I, for one, am hoping for a comeback.
James Retallack, Warwickshire

I was devastated to read you're packing it in. Since 1994 I have been privileged to have many of my acerbic, but hopefully humorous, comments published with your blessing. It has been a piece of harmless fun and kept me out of mischief for at least two minutes a week. I wish you and Geraldine a wonderfully long and happy retirement together.
Nick Jones, La Drome, France

Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! I have always dreaded the day. You have been one of the main reasons I read The Sunday Times. Best wishes for a speedy recovery.
Brenda Ellis, Somerset

Your final contribution brought a lump to my throat. Your parting salvo was reminiscent of Tony Blair's to parliament - "and that is that: the end" - and marks the end of an era. I hope The Sunday Times reserves your place at the table. I miss you already.
Julian Corlett, Lincolnshire

Remember our dear Lord Nelson and turn a blind eye to the memsahib. Keep writing.
Geoff French, Hampshire

I have just read that you are taking a break from Winner's Dinners. I think Geraldine's advice and concerns are understandable, although I hope your threat to return to writing the column at some stage is not an empty one.
Stephen Espley, Kent

Sunday mornings will not be the same now you have retired, but there will be a great number of restaurant owners giving a loud cheer. You have managed to amuse and frustrate your readers with your antics and your comments. You will be missed, but enjoy your life with Geraldine.
Pippa Burmester, southwest London

Stick to steamed fish and well-cooked meat; no more nasty oysters and raw cow. How can we survive Sunday mornings without you?
Liam O'Flanagan, Co Westmeath, Ireland

I have read your articles for the full 20 years, happily paying £4.50 per issue when I lived abroad. I became a fan of Sandy Lane and had the pleasure of attending your Winner's Dinner in May 2010. You will be missed, you old curmudgeon, you.
Richard Ignatowicz, Cheshire

You cannot give up your column. It is usually so outrageous it makes me laugh. If you can't eat the food, take people with you who can - for example, me. I'll eat and you can write. Who knows? You might even enjoy it.
Penny Waterfall, Hertfordshire

How can you be so selfish? It's only a tummy bug and one or two life-threatening diseases, after all. Pull yourself together! Please make that comeback. PS: I'll miss you.
Lawrence Purchase, Berkshire

Having retired for health reasons myself, I felt I must write to thank you for the pleasure you have given me and countless others who read your column. Many thanks for so many years of useless information - including from some of your regular contributors.
Trevor Rose, Manchester

As you are retiring from your column, could you put in a good word with the editor for me to take over? I write a blog and mentioned you in my latest review. That's not sycophancy: you just happened to walk out as I walked in.
Catherine Faulkner, London

You can't stop. Please keep going - even from your grave.
Tim Sayer, north London