Pamella Bordes traced to Goa

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By AMIT ROY
  • Published 2.03.10
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London, March 1: Pamela Singh, who was known as “Pamella Bordes” when she figured in quite a classy sex scandal in Britain 21 years ago – especially when compared with the tawdry affairs involving today’s footballers – has been tracked down to her new life Goa.

“Miss Bordes has a new name,” says the Daily Mail.

It is wrong in that respect – Pamela Singh is her own name under which she won the Miss India contest in 1982.

Pamela became “Pamella” when the beauty queen travelled west, first to America and then to Britain, where she arrived having married a Frenchman with the surname “Bordes”.

In 1988 and 1989, when she worked as a “researcher” at the House of Commons, she got the newspapers hot and bothered after she was photographed one evening in the company of Colin Moynihan (now Lord Moynihan), the Tory sports minister. She was what westerners consider “exotic”.

She was certainly a pretty girl who was for a while the girlfriend of Andrew Neil, then editor of The Sunday Times. Donald Trelford, the editor of the rival Observer, a newspaper with a much bigger size than it boasts now, also sought her attention, it was said at the time.

The News of the World claimed she was a “£500 a night hooker” but before running the story rang Neil as a matter of courtesy and warned him it was splashing with this revelation. This was because the News of the World and the Sunday Times were part of Rupert Murdoch’s News International group.

Neil’s unexpected response was to order two of his journalists to write a full-page “focus” on Pamela for the following Sunday’s issue.

The Daily Mail subsequently paid an estimated Pound250,000 for Pamela’s story but her accounts of the men she had allegedly bedded were so colourful that the paper could not run half of them. Much of the fee she was paid was taken by her lawyers. Pamela fled to Bali where she fell off a bike when she was being chased by paparazzi and sustained minor injuries.

In many ways, Pamela was probably more sinned against than sinning. She tried to make an honest living as a wildlife photographer and some of her work was good enough to be included in an exhibition held at the Royal Festival Hall in London.

The Mail’s piece today takes the story forward: “What Pamella Bordes did next: From society call-girl to life in a hippy haven.”

The paper says: “As she travels around the Indian resort, she attracts barely a second glance from the British tourists. And the woman who was once famously pictured stepping out of a limousine in the company of then Tory minister, is today travelling alone in a small white Suzuki runaround.

Readers are told: “The former glamour girl barely gets a second glance from tourists

But that is exactly how Pamela Singh likes it.”

For the last five years – as she admitted to a “friend” last week – Pamela, who will be 50 next year, “hasn’t worked at all. She is understood to be surviving on her earnings from photography thanks to the low cost of living in Goa. …She prides herself on her fitness and is a member of the Himalayas Climbing Club. Indeed, the majority of her friends are climbers.”

“Nobody knows her as Pamella Bordes now,” the friend said. “People like me know about her past but I am in the minority. Pam has built a new circle of friends who are generally much younger than her, so there is even less chance of them remembering.”

Her life sounds quite agreeable. “Her home in a fishing village in Goa is a two-bedroomed apartment she rents from a friend. Mornings are spent attending a trendy yoga centre in nearby Anjuna and she whiles away the afternoons reading beside the communal pool.”

“I am sorry, I cannot speak to you,” she told the paper, which has published photographs of Pamela as she is now, much fuller in figure compared with the images which filled newspapers two decades ago.

Some readers have reacted badly to the Mail’s revelation. “So what?” responded one reader. “Why does the British Press have to keep prying into the lives of people who briefly hit the headlines a quarter of a century ago?”

Now that her cover has been blown, Pamela may be surprised to discover India, too, has changed in 20 years and that people may be less judgmental. With a good PR agent like Max Clifford to help her, she could easily write the book of the biopic on her life. With some justification she could argue it wasn’t her fault that powerful and rich men threw themselves at her.