Users and volunteers at the Hollies Day Centre in Musselburgh have been “devastated” by the sudden death of Ann Proudfoot – their guiding light for two decades.
Chairman of the centre’s management committee for more than 18 years, Ann was taken ill last Friday and died the following day – only days after being re-elected for what she had decided would be her final term in office.
Born in Edinburgh, she married her late husband Jim in 1956 and moved to the Honest Toun, where they brought up their three sons.
Ann soon found herself involved in community life, working with the twinning association, the community council and serving as a Justice of the Peace for a number of years. Her tireless voluntary work was recognised in 2009 when she was honoured with the title of Citizen of the Year by Musselburgh and Inveresk Community Council.
Ann embraced life with her love of theatre and the arts, which she passed on to her children and grandchildren.
But her real passion was helping the elderly, and, under her leadership, the Hollies was transformed from a soup kitchen into a vibrant hub, with its own lunch club, respite unit and a full programme of classes and activities.
Her fundraising prowess saw £49,000 raised for the purchase of a minibus to transport users to and from the Hollies, along with countless other appeals to fund the respite unit and refurbishment projects.
Ann believed a person’s age to be irrelevant and as such liked her own age to be a closely-guarded secret, not to be disclosed even in her obituary.
Former deputy provost Roger Knox, a friend of almost 50 years, said: “Ann’s legacy to Musselburgh is almost beyond measure, but her positive attitude to life in general will be remembered by all who came into contact with her.”
Liz Shannon, manager at the Hollies, described the news as devastating, adding: “The world will be a duller place without Ann, but we will all endeavour to take the Hollies forward in her honour.”