Obituary: Goldie Lyall, former teacher, 80

Goldie Lyall with Farnworth Grammar's netball team.    Picture: HARRIET LYALL

Goldie Lyall with Farnworth Grammar's netball team. Picture: HARRIET LYALL

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Tributes have been paid to teacher Goldie Lyall, who has died at the age of 80 after a battle with motor neurone disease.

Born to Eva and Benny Aronson in Glasgow’s Pollokshaws district in 1932, Goldie moved with her family to the Capital in 1933.

Part of Marchmont’s small but vibrant Jewish community during the Second World War, she was often seen on errands to her local kosher butcher to collect rations during blackouts.

She and her family survived a direct hit by the Luftwaffe on their tenement in Roseneath Terrace. Miraculously, the building held firm and there were no serious injuries.

Goldie’s education began at Sciennes Primary and continued at James Gillespie’s High School, where her prowess as a student of Latin and English Literature quickly became evident. Goldie was particularly fond of reciting sections from the work of Horace and the other great classical poets. She left school in 1949 to pursue a course of studies in the general arts at Edinburgh University, becoming the youngest graduand in her year when, just shy of her 20th birthday, she left in 1952.

It was also while at university that Goldie met her future husband, James, who she married a few years later after the pair had moved to London.

Goldie began her working life as a teacher following completion of a postgraduate training course at Edinburgh’s Moray House. She took jobs at a wide range of institutions, ranging from tough inner-city schools in London to Weybridge College, where she taught French to catering students.

In 1958 Goldie gave birth to her only child, Harriet, prompting a return to Scotland in 1963.

Although Goldie moved south again six years later so that James could take up a post at Bolton College of Education, the couple’s attachment to their homeland remained strong. In 1982, they decided to take early retirement and, having purchased a flat in Merchiston in 1978, returned to the Capital to spend the remaining years of their lives there.

Family members paid tribute to Goldie as a devoted mother and teacher who took pride in the achievements of those around her and remained lucid long after she was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 2008.

“She was a fabulous cook and could make an absolutely delicious ginger bread,” said Harriet, 54. “She entertained brilliantly and was widely recognised by her social circle as someone who really knew her stuff as a hostess.

“She was welcoming and warm – she cherished people and had a real nurturing streak.”

Goldie’s life was being celebrated today with a service for family and friends at Oakvale Funeral Home and Mortonhall Cemetery.