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Peter Schirmer, veteran journalist, dies at 85

David Parody

Peter Schirmer, a veteran journalist who for over two decades wrote a weekly finance column for this newspaper, died at the weekend aged 85.

Mr Schirmer was highly respected throughout Gibraltar’s financial services sector and his column was a must read for top executives and political decision makers.

“Peter was an absolute gentleman with a deep insight of our local financial services community,” said Albert Isola, the Minister for Digital and Financial Services.

“His Friday columns accurately reported on all aspects of our sector in a fair and balanced way and we will greatly miss his trusted work.”

“At a personal level, he was a great pleasure to spend time with and I hugely enjoyed our infrequent coffee meetings.”

“We have lost a special character and a good friend. My sincerest condolences to [Mr Schirmer’s wife] Gill and his family.”

Mr Schirmer began writing for the Chronicle after moving to Gibraltar following a career in Fleet Street writing for newspapers including The Times, where he was the economics correspondent.

A graduate of Cape Town University where he studied English, economics and classical culture, he had worked in South Africa on the Cape Times before moving to London at a time when Fleet Street was the hub of the UK’s media industry.

He wrote for the News Chronicle, The Scotsman and The Observer before landing the job on The Times, where he wrote for the city pages and developed a deep understanding of finance and economics.

He went on to report from Africa and South America before taking a break from journalism and moving to Crete, where he taught English, ran a restaurant and wrote fiction.

On arriving in Gibraltar, he contacted the Chronicle whose then editor, Dominique Searle, enlisted him to write a weekly column on Gibraltar’s financial services sector.

Mr Schirmer rapidly established a reputation for his incisive insight into the sector, and for the flair of his writing.

He also contributed general reporting too to this newspaper, including coverage of high-profile court cases, and wrote for other publications too including The Gibraltar Magazine and Vox.

Mr Schirmer worked until the very end, filing his last column for this newspaper from his hospital bed last Thursday, right on deadline for the Friday edition.