Wallyford farewells community stalwart Janet Bourhill

Janet Bourhill died after a brave fight against cancer. Picture: supplied
Janet Bourhill died after a brave fight against cancer. Picture: supplied
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WALLYFORD has lost one of its finest stalwarts with the death of Janet Bourhill, whose infectious love for the village was far-reaching.

Janet was at home with her family when she died peacefully on April 13, aged 54, after a brave fight against cancer.

A community councillor for more than 20 years and an elder at St Clement’s Church, she will also be remembered for her Wallyford Memories Facebook page, which has attracted followers from around the world.

As secretary of Wallyford Community Council, Janet was instrumental in having plaques installed at the Wallyford Community Centre, commemorating prominent Wallyfordonians, such as Willie Park Snr, the first-ever Open golf champion, and Jock Wallace, the first man to manage Glasgow Rangers twice.

She was a tireless campaigner for traffic calming measures and was also involved in organising reunions for former miners and members of the local branch of Musselburgh and Fisherrow Co-op.

As a Millennium project, Janet took on the role of editor in the production of a booklet, The History of Wallyford, which was printed and delivered to every household in the village.

In 2010, she marked the unveiling of the Wallyford Miners’ Memorial Stone with a poem paying tribute to the 38 miners who lost their lives in Wallyford collieries from 1857 to 1914.

Her poem, A Wallyford Miner, was later engraved on a plaque and mounted on a replica coal mining hutch at the foot of the road leading to Wallyford Industrial Estate. Information for local history boards was also collated by Janet and her family with the help of local historian and friend Angus N Bathgate.

It was a joint project with her close friend Yvonne Robertson that saw the creation of the Wallyford Memories page, providing a focal point for Wallyfordians far and wide.

Together with Yvonne, she strove through her illness to raise money to have a full-grown tree decorated with Christmas lights to brighten up the village over the festive season – in the hope that it would be the first of many.

Leading the tributes, community council vice-chairman Alister Hadden said everyone was indebted to Janet for the time she devoted to the greater good of village. “Janet has not only left a lasting legacy to the Wallyford village she dearly loved, she is an inspiration to many at home and abroad who share their memories and connections with Wallyford,” he added.

“She would have been proud yet humbled to receive the world-wide tributes on her Wallyford Memories Facebook page.”

Janet is survived by her husband Gary and daughters Sarah and Kirsty. A service was held in St Clement’s Church on Friday.