TRIBUTES have been paid to a “dedicated” former community council leader who died late last month.
Sheila Sinclair was described as a “clever and witty” during her time at the head of North Berwick Community Council.
Miss Sinclair, a former pupil at Flora Stevenson Primary and Broughton High School in Edinburgh, began taking an active role in local politics after returning to Scotland from more than 20 years of working in London and the South of England with BT.
She moved to North Berwick in 1990 after holidaying there as a child and soon involved herself in both the local community council and managing the town’s entry into the Britain in Bloom competition.
The previous year Miss Sinclair added to her local commitments by volunteering to work with the East Lothian Community Rail Partnership and became the organisation’s Honorary Secretary.
“During that time she proved to be an invaluable asset,” said Harry Barker, chair of the Partnership. “Her dedication to the Partnership extended to having committee meetings in her house where we discussed all manner of things, but in particular her desire to have public toilets reinstated at the station in North Berwick – perhaps one of her most determined crusades, but sadly not realised in her lifetime.”
However, she did reach an agreement with a nearby gallery allowing rail customers into its facility, took a constructive part in an audit of East Lothian stations and often attended Association of Community Rail Partnership conferences, usually held in England or Wales, plus ScotRail events in Glasgow and Stirling, where her networking skills were ably demonstrated.
She also arranged for the Robert Louis Stevenson poem From A Railway Carriage, which was written on a train journey to North Berwick, to be put on display at the station.
“Her encyclopaedic knowledge of who did what in East Lothian, coupled with her contacts and personal acquaintances, stood her well in all she did and she will be sorely missed,” added Mr Barker.
A woman who detested politics getting in the way of achieving good things, she had a real can-do attitude, earning a reputation for delivering almost anything to which she set her mind and being honoured earlier this year with a Rotary International award for her special service to the town.
Over the years she raised more than £30,000 for good causes – much of it through quizzes she compiled for charity. She had also been involved with awarding grants for an education trust and enthusiastically dedicated much time to a hospice bookshop in Edinburgh’s Morningside.
Predeceased by her brother Ronnie, a Royal Navy captain, she is survived by her sister Norma, nephews, niece and extended family.