Port o Leith: tributes paid to former landlady who dies aged 98

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The pub legend’s daughter described her as ‘the eighth wonder of the world.’

Relatives of a great-grandmother who ran one of Edinburgh’s most iconic pubs and fought off cancer, twice, have paid tribute to their “family rock.”

Kate Anderson, one of 13 children, was the former landlady at Port o Leith in Constitution Street during the 1970s and 1980s.

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The pub veteran, who has two daughters, two grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, died last week aged 98 and her family have since shared fond memories of one of Leith’s unforgettable characters.

Kate Anderson with daughter Marie Wilson and current landlord Craig SmithKate Anderson with daughter Marie Wilson and current landlord Craig Smith
Kate Anderson with daughter Marie Wilson and current landlord Craig Smith

Mrs Anderson’s daughter, Marie Wilson, from Restalrig, who regularly worked shifts alongside her mother in the popular drinking hole, told Evening News about her inseparable bond with her mother.

"People often ask me, ‘is your mother your best friend?’ to which I always reply, ‘no, she’s my mother, and she’s the eighth wonder of the world,” Marie said, emotion in her voice.

"You’d expect this situation to happen with her age, she was due to turn 99 on Saturday, but it still comes as a bit of a shock.

"We must remain positive though, as she would say.”

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Marie took up shift work in Marionville Court care home during the pandemic, where Mrs Anderson spent the latter years of her life, so that she could see her mother as much as possible during lockdown.

“The carers were just amazing with her and she loved them too, she was just a fantastic woman and I am going to miss her a lot,” she added.

Marie’s daughter, Leigh Petty, said the family are still in disbelief and “heartbroken” at the news of their “best granny” passing away after giving them a lifetime of memories to cherish.

After losing her father about 20 years ago, Leigh said the Port o Leith legend had been “a rock” for the family ever since she can remember.

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"My dad died and wasn’t able to walk me or my sister Katrina down the aisle, so my gran and mum did,” Leigh said.

"She was very close to my husband Simon, and Katrina's husband Darren, they just adored her too.

"When I couldn’t get childcare for my daughter Olivia, granny looked after her at the age of 83 onwards. She was by far the oldest one at the mother and toddler group.”

Mrs Anderson battled breast and ovarian cancer during her lifetime, yet beat both.

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She is regularly described as a “true legend” by Leigh’s friends for the courage and stamina she maintained throughout her life.

"I remember in 2017 we had to call an ambulance because she was in a great deal of pain,” Leigh added.

"When she got to the hospital we were told she didn’t have long and we were going to lose her.

"But two days later she was sat up having a cuppa and a biscuit wondering what all the fuss was about, and that really summed her up, she had more lives than a cat.”

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Mrs Anderson stopped running Port o Leith in the 1980s and it was taken over by Mary Moriarty, known by many as the Queen of Leith, who continued building on the pub’s character.

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