Wigan-based brainbox Pat Gibson has finally completed his career grand slam of quizzing.
He was returning from the Croatian capital Zagreb today, having clinched the one big title that had eluded him.
The Swinley 56-year-old, who rose to fame by winning both the Mastermind title and the jackpot on Who Wants to be a Millionaire and is now a familiar face on BBC2’s show Eggheads, takes part in many quizzes away from the cameras too.
And over the years he has scooped up numerous British quizzing titles and is a four-time world champion. But the European individual crown had hitherto been evasive.
Not anymore though, and Pat didn’t just win it: he stormed it. More than 300 hopefuls attended the hotel conference centre for the three days of competition and after they all completed a tough quiz in what resemble exam conditions, the top 10 progressed onto a verbal quiz in front of an entranced audience.
Pat got the best result in the “exam” section and then won the final by 12 clear points, with Olav Bjortomt coming second and fellow Egghead Kevin Ashman third.
He then went on to complete a rare treble: winning the pairs competition with regular partner Kevin and then the team title too, England beating the powerful Belgians by 20 points.
Afterwards, the Galway-born former Tote IT wiz said: “I’m delighted to have finally won the European title. It’s particularly sweet because that was the one missing from the ‘trophy cabinet,’ so to speak
“And it was great to win the Nations Cup and Pairs Tournament too. In all, a very productive weekend!”
When asked how he stores up so much information for these quizzes, he puts it all down to being a voracious reader, trawling the newspapers every day and looking things up whenever a thought occurs to him and making copious notes.
It is a system which has served the dad-of-two well whether when taking part in local qu iz leagues in Wigan and St Helens, on the Eggheads where he is one of the most formidable opponents, or in the days that he took part in those big TV contests.
Not only did he win Mastermind, he also returned in 2010 to win one of only two ever Mastermind Champion of Champions titles. He was the fourth contestant to win the top prize on Millionaire back in 2004.