Obituary: Janet Bassett, 79

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Janet Bassett, a stalwart of the community in Pencaitland, East Lothian, passed away on December 22, at the age of 79.

Born and bred in Pencaitland, Janet met her husband George, originally from Yorkshire, in 1953 while they were both serving with the Army at Edinburgh Castle.

They married the following year and lived in the Pencaitland area all their married life.

After a spell as a chauffeur and a Help the Aged area supervisor, Janet took a college course in floristry and made that her final occupation, working in Erica’s florist in Haddington, before retiring from paid work.

She was well known in 
Pencaitland for her tireless dedication to her village, holding a large number of voluntary and community roles.

She was a founder member of Pencaitland Community Council, having been part of the original steering group in 1975 before becoming a member when it was officially created the following year.

She served as vice-chair before taking over the role of chair in the 1980s, a position which she held for more than 20 years.

But her role in the village was not confined to the community council.

She was superintendent of the Sunday school at Pencaitland Parish Church for 20 years, where she was also a church elder.

Janet was also heavily involved in the Brownies, holding the post of Guider of the 1st Pencaitland Brownies from 1964 until 1986.

There were also roles as secretary of the Village Hall Committee, as well as the local branch of WRVS and a member of the meals on wheels team. In 1982 she crowned the village Gala Queen.

Her community spirit also stretched beyond Pencaitland – she was a weekend helper at Herdmanflat Hospital canteen in Haddington.

Husband George, 83, said: “She was always on the go. You needed to tie her legs up to slow her down. She had a very full life.

“She had Pencaitland at heart; anything for the village, she’d fight for it.”

Many from the community paid their tributes to a person that cared deeply for the village.

Councillor Jim Gillies, who represents Fa’side ward, said: “It was with great sadness that I heard that Janet had died.

“She absolutely loved the village she was born in and her commitment to Pencaitland and the surrounding area – be it Brownies, Guides, church and indeed the community council – was second to none.

“Janet was truly committed to her local community of Pencaitland and will be sorely missed by all.”

Tom Steele, a former community councillor, added: “I can’t think of anyone who has cared and given more to make the village something special – a really pleasant and attractive place to be. She leaves a wonderful legacy.”