This is the Eulogy
her husband Andrew McLeman wrote for
the Celebration of her life at West Lothian Crematorium held on Friday
24th November 2017, and delivered by The Rev John Povey, minister of the
Kirk of Calder
Anne or Annie
in 1942 in Dundee, her father was in the RAF and her mother a factory
worker, much of her childhood was looking after her father who became
paralysed with MS and as her sisters were much older and away from home, much of the caring was
left to Anne. Because she “couldn’t do sums“, she left school at 16 and
worked at NCR in Dundee. Her talents were however in English and the
Arts and she in fact did win a Burns prize for poetry but in those days’
that talent just wasn’t properly nurtured. Her leisure time mainly
revolved round all types of dancing and was a member of the "Glint of
Skye" Country Dance group doing demonstrations all round Dundee
met and married Arthur Whitton in 1961 and
was immediately whisked off by boat the Republic of Rhodesia (now
Zimbabwe). There she lived the Army Colonial life with daughter Fiona
coming along in 1963, and sons Brodie in 1964 and finally Greg in 1969.
After the children went to school and they moved to Salisbury (now
Harare) she took up office and shop jobs before working for the Surveyor
General’s office and finally the engineering section of Air Rhodesia
where apparently, she became the pin-up of the hangar!
returned to the UK in 1981 the year after Mugabe came to power as they
saw no future there, and returned to Edinburgh initially then East
Calder. Her heart remained in Africa and its some consolation that she
learned of President Mugabe’s demise before she died.
Arthur failed initially to secure a job here Anne became the main
breadwinner working for Scottish and Newcastle Breweries in reception
and sales roles and then Hayes Distribution in beer transport. She
travelled by bus 15 miles into Edinburgh a 2 mile walk twice each day in
all weathers' from 1981 to 1995. I’m told of one story when she fell
asleep standing up on the bus!
Arthur passed away with cancer in 1995 and after a holiday to Australia to see her
sister she re-thought her life and trained as a counsellor while also
opening in premises under the dentist’s surgery in East Calder a nail
salon called “Get Nailed” combined later with a spray tan service called
Andrew had started his surveying practice in the same building in 1999,
and when his wife passed away in 2002, Anne started a new relationship
with this “boy next door”. Her son Greg and his wife Anne provided her
two grandchildren Tia (15) and Cody (10) and over the last 6 years she
has also enjoyed becoming “Gran” to Andrew’s five grandchildren, Murray,
Hamish, Douglas, Kari and Roddy, from Andrew’s sons Ewan and Neill.
Andrew and Anne were married by Rev John Povey in 2007 in the Kirk of Calder and the
reception in Whitburn was what she called the best party she had ever
had! After the move to Mid Calder and the lease of her business premises
expired she decided to go into a well-earned retrial.
Andrew and Anne’s very first trip away on her birthday, she had in the
morning been presented with red silk pyjamas, but Andrew discovered what
was in store for the future when she insisted on wearing them to
breakfast and then ordering both kippers and a full Scottish breakfast
…and no one batted an eyelid!
the last 15 years together with Andrew, they have visited South Africa
three times and the US and Canada five times. and Europe on many
occasions. From the canals of Amsterdam and Venice to the Coliseum in
Rome and the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. The absolute wonder of the
Hubbard Glacier in Alaska to the thunder of The Niagara falls, Table
Mountain in Cape Town To Grand Central Station in New York and beaches
in Cape Cod, Cyprus and Durban ,they did them all.
Many of you will know Anne had an angel box where she put in messages
for wishes she wanted to happen not just for herself but for friends or
family. From people getting better to success at work or in a new home
or relationship it all went in there. Many of her friends unbeknown to
them had their wishes recorded and it’s surprising how many came true.
How often have you heard her say I’ll put it in my angel box? She was
always thinking of the happiness of others. On one occasion for herself
she cut a travel article about a cruise she wanted to go on to Alaska,
and finally after about five years of going on about it Andrew got round
to secretly booking one. when she later pulled out the cutting she
discovered that of the 20 the cruise ships doing that route, that Andrew
had somehow picked the very ship featured in that article!
should be grateful that we got a rough extra 4 years of her life as she
was only given 50:50 chance of survival when four years ago the car she
was in left the road and landed on its roof in a field. She spent a
month in Intensive care and a total three months in hospital, and came
out relatively unscathed. She was however now able to please to say “yes
I have” to many cold callers when they asked “if she had been a in an
accident in the last four years that wasn’t her fault!” before slamming
down the phone!
Such is the love she gathered, she has visitors here today that have
travelled from Orkney and Shetland, London, Milton Keynes, Stoke,
Reading and now through the wonder of the internet this service is being
watched in New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, India, USA and Canada
as well as Dundee!
She was an avid reader of books and was never without a book or more
recently her kindle. She was very knowledgeable about the Arts and
especially Classical music. Classic FM would be on all day in her nail
salon. But she was also a little bit of a ‘rock chic’ too, having seen
both Status Quo and the Rolling Stones live! She loved the theatre and
especially musicals. When she missed War Horse in Edinburgh because of
the accident Andrew managed to secure tickets so she could see it before
it closed in London to fulfil a promise made.
Anne and her sisters were all talented performers mainly in singing and
dancing. how many of us can say they had danced to Jimmy Shand Junior in
Dundee, sung the Messiah in Rhodesia and starred in Steppin’ Out at the
Howden theatre in Livingston. She was also the acclaimed lead actress in
the Livingston players production of Edward” in 1990. Her one regret
after her accident was that the tracheotomy left her unable to sing!
She was also a talented amateur abstract artist always trying new
techniques and medium, while she never formally worked as a counsellor,
she provided sane advice I her salon and elsewhere, and would always get
the heart of any problem and come up with the right solution.
When everyone had left home she decided to supplement her income by
taking in lodgers, the first ones turned out to be two “frightened”
Indian graduates doing extra courses in Edinburgh. Of the three she took
in over the period 2002-4 she is still close friends with two of them.
In India she is regarded with goddess status as the woman who became a
Scottish mother looking after their precious children in a strange land.
It was a triumph when they graduated in the kilts that she persuaded
them to wear.
She changed so may lives for the better and she left a legacy of love
and friendship, she was still in touch with her bridesmaid in a
friendship that has lasted nearly 60 years, and has other relationships
of over 45 years from Rhodesia days. So many people have commented on
how she was a special lady, a lovely happy woman, a remarkable lady, a
kind soul, a wonderful lady, a dear friend, she really has left her mark
on the world and loved and was loved by all. When she got together with
friends there would be hours of giggling of all the things they used to
get up to.
ashes of her beloved cat Tansy that she visited each month for 6 months
of quarantine are in her coffin in accordance with her wishes, loyal to
final bit of fun was for her funeral colourful clothes for the ladies
and “Bad Taste Ties” for the men gives you an idea how her death was so
much like her life “full of fun”!
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We now have received from the
Crematorium the the DVD
of the service and it can be viewed below.
(The service is a little more than 30 minutes)
We have in addition included
below the "youtube" videos of the music used for the service
Congregation entry music - Hallelujah performed by Andre Rieu
Coffin entry music - Somewhere My Love (Lara's song)
from Dr Zhivago sung by Andy Williams
Hymn 550 "Where the deer pants for
Originally to have been performed
live by Annie's niece Irene, however snow on the M74 route North
meant they had to turn back, the Crematorium however managed a to find a
recorded version of "The Water is Wide"
sung by Haley Westernra (from New Zealand) who Annie and Andrew had seen
performing live on two occasions!