Obituary: Yvonne Morison MBE, community volunteer
Born: 16 August, 1922, in Canada. Died: 16 July, 2012, in Banff, Aberdeenshire, aged 89.
When Canadian teenager Yvonne Angus began writing to a wartime pen pal, little could she have imagined it would lead to a whirlwind romance and a partnership spanning 72 years.
Through her original correspondent she was put in touch with the man who was to become her husband and together they spent the best part of seven decades in a peaceful corner of rural Aberdeenshire where they made a huge contribution to local communities.
Her lifetime’s work in and around Huntly and Banff, for which she was awarded an MBE, ranged from dedicated service to the Red Cross and Civil Defence to Girl Guide County Commissioner, chair of a hospital fundraising group and make-up artist for the Haddo Arts Trust.
One of five sisters, she was born in Canada and during the early part of the Second World War began writing to a male pen pal. He happened to know Alexander Morison, an officer in the Canadian Army’s Westminster Regiment, to whom young Yvonne also began writing.
After a while it transpired that she preferred corresponding with Morison and, after a year’s worth of letters had passed between them, they finally met in person.
It was March 1941 and the young couple were married within a month. They then spent only about two weeks together before her new husband went off to fight for the Allies in Europe. His young bride remained in Canada, where she gave birth to their first child, Diane.
It would be five long years before the family was reunited in 1946.
The following year she came to Scotland, where her husband had inherited the family’s Bognie, Mountblairy and Frendraught estate, which he ran, in Aberdeenshire.
They lived initially at Frendraught, Forgue near Huntly, later moving to Mountblairy, Banff, and she threw herself into serving her local communities. Having been involved in the Red Cross during the war, in 1948 she joined its Banffshire branch and trained as a first aider.
As a Red Cross nurse she had a particular affinity with the younger volunteers and helped with the youth and junior members of the branch before taking over as youth and junior assistant branch director. Many of the young people she worked with went on to win Duke of Edinburgh Awards under a scheme she and her husband ran in Banff.
Mrs Morison, who became a Red Cross Commissioner, also trained at Taymouth Castle, Aberfeldy as a Civil Defence officer. Her husband was the controller for Civil Defence in their area and they both arranged exercised for the auxiliaries.
She later helped to found, and then chair, the Friends of Chalmers Hospital, Banff, where she did some relief nursing work. She also trained in beauty and hand care to offer these additional services to patients and used her skills in this department as head of make-up for shows presented by Haddo Arts Trust, an organisation she was involved with for more than 40 years.
In 1968 she was appointed County Commissioner for Girl Guides in Banff and Buchan and served on the executive committee of Girl Guiding Scotland for three years from 1972-75 before becoming Banff and Buchan County president from 1977-1982. She and her husband also supported the Guiding movement by providing a free campsite on the family estate which has been enjoyed by many thousands of youngsters over the years.
Other contributions included taking on the role of vice- president of the Talking Banffie and Turra Talk Association, an initiative to provide visually impaired people with local news through talking newspapers. She was also a long-standing member of the Women’s Royal Voluntary Service.
She was awarded her MBE for services to the community in the Queen’s 2007 Birthday Honours and received the medal at a special investiture ceremony, at Ballindalloch Castle, timed to coincide with her 67th wedding anniversary.
This year she celebrated a remarkable 71 years of marriage.
Mrs Morison, who was laid to rest yesterday in the family mausoleum at Mountblairy, is survived by her husband Alexander, children Diane, Cheryle and Gordon, grandchildren Rinnes, Davina, Lachlan, Conner and great grandson Calum.
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Friday 24 May 2013
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