An appreciation of Mrs Irene Jamieson
Few people who met my mother on the show circuit would have guessed the history of this remarkable woman. Born in 1918 she was one of a sadly diminishing generation who sacrificed much.
Always independent and an entrepreneur, and in an era when most women did not go out to work, by the beginning of WW2 my mother had her own business, a sweetie shop-cum-general store with living accommodation above, and a beloved collie called Bett. Her call to duty was strong however and she wanted to play her part for her country, so she employed a part time manager for the shop, and started work in Rolls Royce on constant 12 hour shifts. Having a natural aptitude for mathematics and engineering she swiftly rose to become the first (and only) woman Engineer Inspectress for Rolls Royce aircraft engines.
During the Clydebank Blitz my mother lost her shop, her home and her beloved Bett. As a key worker it was vital to keep going, and she walked 18 miles each way, with her manager, through air raids and debris to get to work, until some sort of transport was in operation again. She never missed a shift.
One exception that I remember occurred when I was invited to take Ch Inzievar Silver Broom for a TV and photo shoot at a Pet Trade Fair in Scotland in the 1980s. Mum came along and there she met Stafford Somerfield and sat beside him at lunch. The conversation between them went on well in to the afternoon, covering the war years and ultimately came round to politics. I recall a lively chat. Mum greatly enjoyed meeting him.
She always thought of others first and never had a bad word for anyone, choosing instead to try and see the good. Well in to her 70s she was still going to the fruit market to buy bulk potatoes and vegetables to give to her ‘elderly’ neighbours along with produce from her green house. An outstanding gardener, people came from miles around to admire her craft, and for advice or cuttings.
The Service of Thanksgiving for her life was well attended by local dignitaries, and representatives of the many organisations she served, which included serving as Secretary and Treasurer (simultaneously) of the Community Council up until two years ago. The system she devised still stands today as the model for all Community Councils. She was also an active Labour Party supporter and was Secretary of the Local Branch, with all of her minutes being immaculately hand written. She would have been touched by the thoughtfulness and effort made by some Dandie friends to travel a great distance to attend her funeral.
Her contribution to so many worthy causes and organisations are too many to list here, but perhaps a flavour of her life may be had from an excerpt from the address given by Lord Provost MacDonald, a family friend of some 50 years;
‘This was a very special lady. Loyalty, honesty, integrity, humility and compassion for others was in the very air she breathed and in every fibre of her being. For many years this wonderful lady influenced the lives of countless fellow citizens in Clydebank. She served the people with a quiet but committed determination. Never seeking public recognition, but equally happy in the knowledge her contributions were creating a better quality of life for others. Having said that I know how delighted she was to be invited to the Royal Garden Party on two occasions in recognition of her service to the community.
The warmth of her friendship and her honest principles were infectious, and I have no doubt I would not be standing here today as Provost were it not for her wise guidance.
Today my friends we say farewell to the lady we loved. Our communities are that much the poorer for her passing, but you and I know how much the richer we all are for having known her.’
At home, and as a mother she was simply the best and always loved and supported us in all that we were involved in. We grew up with dogs and other animals as part of our lives and were encouraged to train our own dogs at the local dog class. This started a hobby that has endured to the present day.
My mother was also adored her beloved Dandies, the first of whom was Ch. Inzievar Scott a pepper dog (in the early 1980s), followed by Ch Inzievar All Gold a mustard bitch. Pepper dogs were her favourite. Always in the background but very much a part of the (family) team effort around the Inzievar Dandies, the pleasure she gained from our latest venture, Ch. Inzievar Silver Gilt, was immense. He was and is very much her dog (owned jointly with a close family friend, Gordon Buist). He was chosen by her, and given his pet name after my mothers clan name Ross, and mum was very proud of his many great wins. The last show she attended was the CDDTC Ch show in November 2006 where Ross won BIS, much to her delight. Her goal had been to get to Crufts, sadly this was not to be but I know she was with us on the day.
During my mother’s final stay in hospital she was greatly touched by the thoughtfulness of the Caledonian Dandie Club in sending her flowers and good wishes. In way of a thank you for that thoughtfulness that gave my mother great pleasure when she was so very ill, the family donated a trophy to the CDDTC in her memory, which was awarded for the first time in November 2007.
As a family our loss is immeasurable, she has left a hole that cannot be filled. We are grateful for the privilege of having had such an outstanding wife, mother, grandmother and great grandmother.