Nan Muncaster

Nan Muncaster died in January of this year. She had served for many years on the Community Council and she and her husband Jack were so active in the community they were almost an institution in their own right. It seemed fitting that Sandy Aitchison should write this appreciation.

“ I have known Jack for over 50 years. He was the under gamekeeper at Bowland Estate and I used to work there as a boy. Nan, I have known for a bit less but it does seem a very long time – maybe 40 years!

I never failed to be amazed at the number of people from all walks of life that Nan actually knew and how much she knew about how things worked and were organised. Nan would always say “I will find out!” and find out she did.

She was a very artistic and skilled person in all the “Guild” skills, which were once so widespread in country places. Flowers were a particular passion. The great thing about Nan was she knew the flowers by name and habit and she could arrange them with a few flicks of the hand. The church has particularly missed her ability to make the most ingenious arrangements of even the most mundane of plants. She was also generous with sharing her skills – as my family know.

Nan spent many years on the Stow and Fountainhall Community Council and was never shy in airing her views. Latterly, she spent a great deal of time researching the many windfarm developments in the area. Nan did not like windfarms!

John, Nan’s husband, died shortly after Nan. Jack also served the community as one of the council snow plough drivers who kept our roads clear and safe. These men are unsung but so necessary. John was probably the last connection with the Royal Observer Corps in the village and their “hut” up on the Lauder Hill. Jack spent many years on the Stow Pipe Band Committee and the Twinning Committee through which they went to France, as far as I know their only trip abroad.

It was during one of the French group visits to Stow that myself and Nan “lost” two elderly French musicians in Edinburgh. The rest of the band had to get to Melrose for a performance and we spent the rest of the day looking for them. Inevitably she said she knew somebody in the police. I think she thought desperate times needed desperate measures and we needed to call out the reserves! Her connections were not necessary as our French visitors eventually “gave themselves up” to the police at Gayfield Square and she did the journey from, Edinburgh to Melrose in scarily quick time. Nan liked driving! The A7 is quieter without Nan and John. Rarely was a journey made without seeing them on the road!

I hope there are no windfarms in Heaven, but I hope there is snow. That way Nan can rest in peace and John can get back in a lorry with his former colleagues who have gone before him, and heaven’s roads will be much safer.”

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