TRIBUTES have been paid to Carol Paton, a housing and care professional renowned for her dedication to the wellbeing of the most vulnerable.
Carol, who died peacefully at her Edinburgh home at the age of 52, was a highly respected and successful professional in the housing and care sector.
Born on December 28, 1959 and raised in Dundee, she was apupil at Dundee High before attending Edinburgh University, graduating in 1980.
She continued her education at Nantes University in France before eventually returning to Edinburgh to undertake further study at Napier College.
After a brief spell as a tour guide, her professional life commenced in 1986 when she became a trainee with the Housing Corporation.
She then worked for Edinvar and Horizon Housing Associations, where she became a passionate advocate of barrier-free housing.
In 1994 she became director of Lorne Area Housing Association in Edinburgh before taking up a senior post in the regulation arm of Scottish Homes and its successor, Communities Scotland.
In 2004, Carol set up her own company, Paton Independent, through which she provided housing and management consultancy services, including interim management services to several not-for-profit organisations, most notably Cumbernauld Housing Partnership.
She was appointed to the board of the Care Commission in 2006 and continued to serve on its successor body, the Care Inspectorate, until the month before her death.
Carol was described by its chairman, Frank Clark, as an outstanding member who, apart from being loyal, conscientious and painstakingly thorough in her work, displayed massive integrity in all that she did.
Away from work she was a keen singer, enjoyed walking and playing tennis and badminton and was partial to a malt whisky and good food. Another favourite way to spend time was in the jewellery shops of Bruntsfield.
Friend Derek O’Carroll said: “Carol was a warm, generous friend and colleague, as inspiring in her approach to imminent death as she had been in her all-too short life.
“She transformed every organisation she worked with, infusing the workplace with her positive thinking.”
Seven years ago Carol met her future husband Jim Middleton.
Their wedding in August 2011 was a memorable occasion, with Carol radiant in her trademark purple and pink.
The next day she was diagnosed with cancer.
However, she tackled her illness as another project to be managed positively, never with anger or self-pity.
She sadly lost her battle on March 14.