Obituary: Margaret Jane Irvine, 88

Margaret Irvine was a talented singer

Margaret Irvine was a talented singer

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A committed city charity worker, Margaret Jane Irvine has died at the age of 88.

Born in Lawrie Street, Leith, and the youngest of eight, Margaret met her husband Bill whilst the pair worked at Bruce Peebles in Pilton, then John Cox & Son, and married in March 1951.

After Margaret retired at the age of 26, the couple had three children, Billy, Catherine and Barbara.

The family lived in Ferry Road Drive for 34 years before eventually moving to Drylaw where they first got involved in charity work.

One of the their main charitable efforts, in the North Edinburgh area, was raising money for alarms for pensioners to carry at night.

In addition to this, the pair also raised thousands of pounds to donate to the families of the six children who tragically lost their lives in the 1971 Ainslie Park School tragedy in the Cairngorms.

They also raised money for a boy who died due to heart trouble, creating the Gary Stewart Memoriam Trophy, which Leith schools played for.

Continuing their fight for those with heart problems Margaret and Bill raised money to donate to the Western General Hospital, to buy new monitoring machines.

They were also involved in fundraising for the Disabled Children’s Annual Christmas Party, which involved approximately 100 children from across the city.

Raising all the money they did required a lot of effort and came in the form of organising raffles, dances, charity boxes, football games and donations.

As well as being known for her extensive charity work, Margaret had another talent – singing.

From what started as causal singing with her sisters, Ella and Jeannie, they became known as “The Johnson Sisters” and sang in numerous clubs, often alongside The Melody Makers.

Throughout these various clubs Margaret herself was known as the “lady with the golden voice”.

Tragically, on a night out organising a charity dance Bill was attacked, resulting in him suffering brain damage.

However, the pair’s family and friends intervened to help Margaret and Bill continue with their charity work.

Before he died, Bill was named ‘Edinburgh’s Citizen Of The Year’ in the Silver Jubilee year 1977.

Unfortunately, three years ago Margaret had a heart-attack and from that day on until her death she and her family treasured every day.

Twice since, Margaret was taken to hospital and told to expect the worst but she fought back. After a diabetic coma in February she spent 11 weeks in hospital, and following hopes of being discharged, she caught bilateral pneumonia.

After years of enjoyment and hard-work for charitable causes Margaret Irvine passed away. She will be missed for all her hard work and the memories she made.