Obituary: Sister Margaret Duncan, 96

Sister Margaret's charity exploits were impressive. Picture: Rob McDougall
Sister Margaret's charity exploits were impressive. Picture: Rob McDougall
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AN “extraordinary” motorbike-riding nun who raised thousands for charity has died at the age of 96.

Sister Margaret Duncan, who was born and brought up in Stoneyburn, raised cash for Bosnia through the charity Edinburgh Direct Aid for around 20 years.

Those who worked with her have paid tribute to her efforts following her death on Thursday.

Sister Margaret spent 26 years at the Holy Family Convent in Leith and five years at the Holy Family Sisters Convent in Livingston, before moving to England.

She became involved with the charity when it was set up in the 1990s, before staff had secured an office.

Along with a team of nuns from the convent, Sister Margaret would assist the charity with unpacking and sorting through donations.

The group was nicknamed the A-Team for its dedication and efficiency.

In 2003, she took part in the Ride a Harley event, in which a group of motorcycle enthusiasts offered members of the public a ride on the back of their bikes in return for a £3 donation to the Bosnia campaign.

She received an Unsung Hero award at the Great Scots People of the Year Awards for her tireless devotion to the people of Bosnia in 1998.

In 2004, she was treated to a trip up a turntable ladder as part of an ambitious fundraising effort to travel around Edinburgh in 80 different ways, again to raise money for the Christine Witcutt Centre in Sarajavo.

The charity sees youngsters aged seven to 21 with disabilities ranging from Down’s syndrome to cerebral palsy are given care and learning opportunities.

Sister Margaret made several trips to Sarajevo with the charity when the war ended.

Even in her nineties she continued to raise money for the cause.

In 2009, aged 92, she organised a 24-hour sponsored knit-a-thon to raise money for the Christine Witcutt Centre.

As her health failed, she was cared for at a convent in Birkenhead.

Edinburgh Direct Aid chairman Denis Rutovitz said: “Sister Margaret was an extraordinary person. She will be greatly missed.

“She was an extraordinary person, totally dedicated to whatever she was doing.

“Whether it was hard work like packing, taking part on a publicity stunt to raise awareness of the charity or shaking a collection tin, everything she did she was totally committed to.

“She made the trip to Sarajevo with us and even in her eighties, she was full of zest.

“Whatever she did, she would do it in an extraordinary way.”