Known affectionately as the Queen of Edinburgh Monarchs, an outpouring of love has met the tragic news of prominent fan Ella MacDonald’s unexpected death.
Tributes to the popular speedway supporter have flooded in noting her warmth, generosity and dedication to the team.
Ella had been expected at the Edinburgh Monarchs’ end of season dinner dance prompting concern when she didn’t arrive.
Monarchs’ director Mike Hunter said her service helping with many facets of the Armadale-based club made her an invaluable part of the speedway family, who will be sorely missed.
He said: “Ella should have joined the celebrations at the club’s annual dance on Saturday evening but sadly she passed away earlier in the day, completely unexpectedly.
“The reaction from her fellow supporters has been overwhelming and a tribute to how much she meant to everyone.
“It would be hard to overstate the extent to which she was fondly regarded by everyone.
“She was a warm, generous and friendly person and ideally suited to looking after the Monarchs’ bus trips both from Edinburgh to Armadale on a Friday night and from the east of Scotland to away tracks at all points south.”
Organising the away travel also involved booking the overnight hotels, and dispensing refreshments on the buses, including her famous ever-replenished tin of sweets.
During the home matches Ella and her friend Molly Bell sold the club’s draw tickets, an important source of funds and another way in which Ella became known to everyone at Armadale.
Ella was a fan of the Monarchs when it was based in the Old Meadowbank stadium before she took a break to raise her family.
She returned to the club when it was based at Powderhall from 1977 to 1995 where she became part of the fabric of the Monarchs.
Ella did a lot of work in various roles with the Monarchs Speedway Supporters Club and was a regular player at the Monarchs Skittles events in the Murrayfield Indoor Sports Club.
Mr Hunter added: “She was game for anything – singing in karaokes, riding in fundraising Cycle Speedway events, whatever was happening Ella was there. She will be fondly remembered and massively missed.”
Monarchs’ riders such as Bobby Beaton, Sam Masters, Mitchell Davey, Guy Robson and Ricky Wells have been amongst those paying tribute on Facebook.
Her grandchildren, were Lee, Jake, Charlotte and Lindsay and on her Facebook page her family posted: “She was the best granny, mum, and friend that anyone could ever ask for.”
Her working life included spells with the Post Office, the Bank and latterly as a secretary at the Royal Infirmary.
Monarchs’ centre green announcer Scott Wilson liked to joke with Ella and Molly while making the weekly prize draw.
He said: “A thoughtful and genuine lady with a great heart who tolerated my good-natured but pish patter for 20-odd years.
“My life was better for having you in it Ella.”