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BBC Scotland's Colin MacKinnon reports
"He wasn't a beggar, he lived off benefits and declined all offers of charity"
 real 56k

Thursday, 3 May, 2001, 20:51 GMT 21:51 UK
Capital mourns its 'gentleman tramp'
Cosimo Presutti
Cosimo Presutti was well known in Edinburgh
The life of an Italian-born rough sleeper who caught the imagination of a city has been marked at a world famous cathedral.

Cosimo Presutti - otherwise known as Cosmo the Gentleman Tramp - became one Edinburgh's best-known characters as he lived for more than 10 years around the Royal Mile.

Mr Presutti, 71, who slept on the steps of St Giles Cathedral, died on 26 April after he was struck by a car in West Lothian.

He had become a familiar figure to many people living and working in the centre of Edinburgh.

St Giles
The funeral was held at St Giles
Many of them were expected to attend his funeral service at St Giles, which was to include hymns by the cathedral choir and an address by assistant minister Karen Watson.

Ms Watson, who remembers Mr Presutti from her childhood, said: "Cosimo was somebody who had a great integrity, he was a colourful character.

"He didn't beg and in fact if anyone offered him money he would quickly refuse them.

"He had chosen to live the life he did, and on what he had. He caught the imagination of the people who met him."

She added: "I remember him from my childhood as somebody who was always in the High Street and on Princes Street.

Family burial

"A lot of people have paid tribute to Cosimo this week.

"We've received a lot of phone calls inquiring about the service and we've had some letters from people who new him."

Mr Presutti, who moved to Scotland from Italy in the early 1960s, began sleeping rough at the end of the 1980s, although he moved to a care home for the last year of his life after he was attacked by a gang as he slept.

Arrangements are being made to fly Cosmo's body home to Italy - where his son and daughter live - for a family burial.

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