Plan for National Library Margo MacDonald archive

An archive of the work of Margo MacDonald is set to be created at the National Library of Scotland. Pic: Esme Allen
An archive of the work of Margo MacDonald is set to be created at the National Library of Scotland. Pic: Esme Allen
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THE husband of Margo MacDonald has revealed plans to set up an archive in her memory.

Speaking on the first anniversary of his wife’s death, Jim Sillars said the National Library of Scotland had asked her family to donate papers from her political career to create a ‘Margo archive’.

He said: “We’ve agreed and we won’t put any restrictions on it. It means the work she did will be available for researchers and future generations. They’ve already been getting inquiries.”

Ms MacDonald was diagnosed with the degenerative illness Parkinson’s in 2002 but continued her work as an independent MSP for Lothian.

She campaigned for the right to assisted dying, hoping to bring about a change in the law allowing people with terminal illnesses to decide their own fate.

Ms MacDonald died at her Edinburgh home in April 4 last year after he immune system had been compromised by her condition.

Since receiving the request from the National Library of Scotland, Mr Sillars has been going through old paperwork going back as far as 1996.

He has also viewed more than 20 video tapes, showing his wife at political rallies and campaigning on the issues that were important to her.

A new Assisted Suicide (Scotland) bill, taken forward by Green MSP Patrick Harvie, is due to be debated by a Holyrood committee.

Mr Sillars has said he hoped MSPs would have a free vote on the controversial issue, adding that it has to be a “matter of conscience rather than a party whip”.

He said: “People have to ask if they are 100 per cent against assisted suicide or would they permit it in certain situations?”

Originally a Scottish National party MP. she later stood as an independent and was returned three times to Holyrood as a regional MSP for the Lothian region.

She was born Margo Aitken in Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, went to Hamilton Academy and studied to be a teacher of physical education at Dunfermline College.

She came to political prominence through her success in the Glasgow Govan by-election of 1973 when she seized the traditional Labour stronghold for the SNP.

Mr Sillars said the past year had proved to him how inspirational she had been and that wherever he goes he is reminded of the affection in which his wife of 33 years was held.