IT was appropriate that the funeral of Mrs Rosemary Hall should be held in the Old Parish Church, Peebles – so many people wanted to say thanks for a long and fruitful life.
Rosemary was an SNP and church activist – and one person attending to say farewell to one of Tweeddale’s great ladies was Scottish finance minister John Swinney.
The service was conducted by Rosemary’s minister, the Reverend Bob Milne, of the Parishes of Upper Tweed, where her own church was in Stobo, and tributes were paid by surviving family members as well as former minister, the Reverend Rachel Dobie.
Rosemary was a staunch supporter of the SNP and two years ago, the Moderator of the Melrose and Peebles Presbytery.
She was born Rosemary Johnson in Aberdeen and was always very secretive about her age – even when the family wanted to give her a special party for her 80th, it was only on condition that it be held in Montrose and that no-one from the Borders was to know.
Mr Milne told the big congregation: “Rosemary grew up in Montrose and was educated at Montrose and then Cranleigh in Edinburgh.
“It was wartime and the school was evacuated to Grantown-on-Spey. She went to Cranleigh Secondary School in Edinburgh, where she had life membership of Edinburgh Zoo.
“Rosemary went on to work for Bruce Walker, where she was PA to one of the partners, James.
“In 1952, she married Eric and Rosemary stopped working for a living, but she by no means stopped work. She was a devoted Nationalist and was organising secretary for the SNP. One of her proudest days was when she travelled to London on the Tartan Express, which she had, of course, organised in 1967 to see Winnie Ewing take her seat in the Commons.
“And it was a great delight to her to hear that the SNP had achieved an overall majority at the last election.”
Rosemary and Eric set up home in Edinburgh before moving to Dunbar until Eric retired in 1982 and they moved to Lyne Station where they enjoyed a very happy retirement until Eric died in 1999.
She was also involved with CND and campaigned against Torness. She owned a succession of top-class pointers and at one time had her own horse.
“The couple did not have any family, but had a formidable almost photographic memory. Dates, personnel and facts were stored away and could be recalled at a moment’s notice,” added Mr Milne.
Mrs Dobie paid tribute to Rosemary’s church contribution. She was a member at Stobo. She belonged to, and kept in line the worship workshop, and preached regularly until a few weeks ago.
She was a district elder, guild member, most significantly clerk to the General Kirk Session, and in the wider church she served presbytery, was prayer secretary and a highly-effective publicity secretary and active on the Presbyterial Council, and served on the Assembly’s Church and Nation Committee, and many other bodies such as Cross Borders Radio.
“Rosemary had other interests too numerous to list,” said Mrs Dobie.
“She was vehemently against the use of nuclear power either for energy or for weapons, was a member of CND and indeed organised at least one tour for Bruce Kent and I believe took part in the Greenham Common Women’s protests.”
– A. I.