Regular readers of this blog will have been unable to avoid the revelation that my favourite mid twentieth century writer is Dorita Fairlie Bruce. I enjoy her school stories but I particularly like her young adult characters, girls who are just about to leave school and/or have just begun to establish themselves in the adult world. If I had to choose just two of these, I’d plump for Nancy Caird and Julia Lendrum. In DFB’s books these two never meet; they couldn’t really given their ages. By my reckoning Nancy is about ten years older than Julia. However, in an idle moment I constructed a scenario where they and other favoured girls could get together. For the final edition of Folly Magazine I wrote some pieces outlining this. The first couple appear below, slightly edited. If there’s any interest, I might post some of the others at a later date. Clearly these will only make any sense if you’ve read Dorita Fairlie Bruce’s wonderful books. You’ll also have to accept that Redchurch and Colmskirk are the same place (Largs in real life). I’ve chosen to call the town Colmskirk and in my head I’ve rationalised the irregularity by saying that Redchurch is a local informal name for the town.

Nancy all grown up

Colmskirk Herald

21st May 1955

The congregation of St Columba’s Church turned out in force last weekend to welcome its new minister.  The Rev Angus Macrae comes to Colmskirk from the Perthshire town of Easterbraes where he ministered at the South Kirk for seventeen years.  He is accompanied by his wife, Anne, and their daughters, Elizabeth, Jessica and Mhairi.

The celebrations began on Saturday afternoon with the Service of Induction which was conducted by the Moderator of the Presbytery, the Rev John Paterson of the Barony Church, Inchmore.  In the absence of a regular organist at St Columba’s, Mrs Paterson officiated.  The Colmskirk congregation has been delighted to learn that not only are the Patersons and Macraes old friends but also that Mrs Macrae is an organist, having filled that position in Easterbraes since before her marriage.  She will continue to work with her husband in this way at St Columba’s.

In his sermon Mr Paterson took as his text Isaiah 43:18, 19 and spoke of the necessity for minister and congregation to forget what has gone before and look to the new things God will do.  The congregation was charged with the support and encouragement of their new minister and his family, whilst he was challenged to be a workman approved by God.

After the service the assembled throng repaired to the Church Hall for the Induction Social.  The ladies of the Women’s Guild served an excellent meal of soup, followed by chicken and salad and finished with meringues and fruit.  In deference to the minister’s daughters, the youngest of whom is only four, the presentations and speeches were made immediately after the meal.

This part of the proceedings was chaired by the Interim Moderator, the Rev Kenneth Gibb of Colmskirk Old Parish Church.  He welcomed Mr Macrae to the Presbytery and expressed his joy at losing his extra position.  On behalf of the other denominations in the town the Rev Robert Steele of the United Free Church brought greetings and an invitation to the Ministers’ Fraternal.  The presentation to Mr Macrae was made by the Session Clerk, Mr Alexander Lamond.  The President of the Women’s Guild, Mrs Binnie, extended a welcome to Mrs Macrae along with the gift of a beautiful bouquet.  Miss Julia Lendrum, representing the Sunday School teachers, gave gifts to the minister’s daughters.  The evening was brought to a close with the benediction pronounced by Mr Paterson who also preached in the new minster the following day.

The modern Colmskirk books

St Columba’s News

August 1955

On the last Sunday in June the baby daughter of Mr and Mrs Timothy Nisbet was baptised in the Church.  Marianne Julia, who was born at the beginning of April, was well-behaved throughout the ceremony, seemingly enjoying the attention.  Her Godmother, Mrs Anne Burnet, travelled from London to be present.  She was accompanied by her husband and children, Margaret and Peter.  Mrs Nisbet, who as Primula Beton was the first curator of our local museum, is Godmother to her friend’s seven-year-old daughter.  Also present were the well-known herbalist Mrs Daphne Gilmour and her husband Dr Peter Gilmour.

Mrs Nisbet and Mrs Burnet met at Springdale School here in Colmskirk before the War.  Mrs Burnet, who has only returned here once since her schooldays ended (for the marriage of Mr and Mrs Nisbet at which she was Matron of Honour), said that she was looking forward to visiting her old school as well as exploring the town with more freedom than she had in her schooldays!  The congregation was electrified to learn that Mrs Macrae, who spent some time at St Bride’s on Inchmore, knew Mrs Nisbet and Mrs Burnet in their Junior days.  The three ladies enjoyed recollecting their schooldays together.

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