Obituary: Frances Love, 76

Frances Love. Picture: comp
Frances Love. Picture: comp
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Frances Love, relationship consultant, has died aged 76.

Frances was born in the Capital on July 2, 1938 and went to Broughton High School. As a teenager, she worked briefly with The Scotsman as a proof-reader before moving on to work as a librarian, first for a private library, then for Edinburgh City Libraries.

After marrying her husband Jim in 1957 she gave up work and dedicated herself to home and family life, becoming a full-time mother to their young daughter.

It wasn’t until the late 1960s that she returned to work outside the home, taking a part-time job with a playgroup in the city’s Gifford Park. She quickly realised she had an affinity with the Scottish Pre-School Playgroups Association, agreeing with its ethos and principles, and went on to become its general secretary.

In addition to her work relating to children and the importance of play for healthy development, she was also involved in myriad other organisations all linked with human relationships, giving talks and lectures and running courses up and down the country.

In the summer of 1987 she was appointed director of Scottish Marriage Guidance – the coincidence of her surname and the raison d’être of the organisation earning her a mention on Derek Jameson’s Radio 2 chat show. Under her guidance and aided by her profound understanding of relationships, it later became Couple Counselling.

With her expertise and contacts, she also became influential in a number of other charitable organisations, becoming a director of Step Family Scotland, the Scottish Council of Voluntary Organisations and the Scottish Institute of Human Relations, now known as Human Development Scotland, where she was a tutor and consultant.

One of her proudest achievements came in 1996 with the publication of the book Marriage Now: Asking Questions, which she co-authored with psychiatrist Douglas Haldane MBE, who had also been involved in the pre-school playgroup and marriage guidance movements.

Latterly, she was involved as a director of Edinburgh and Lothian Council on Alcohol and in December 2001 she was honoured with an OBE for services to marriage guidance. The award was presented by Prince Charles during a ceremony at Holyrood House which happened to fall on her birthday. She was astonished when, as he pinned the OBE on her lapel with a smile, the Prince announced: “And a happy birthday to you, Frances.”

Despite a growing prominence in her field, she remained deeply devoted to her own family. She and her husband often enjoyed holidays together in Spain, France and Italy, and she took delight in supporting and seeing her grandson flourish.

She also passed on her passion for children and families to her daughter and, through her work, leaves a powerful legacy as a role model to countless others advising in the vital field of human relationships.