Born: 29 November, 1912, in Glasgow.
Died: 22 October, 2005, in Edinburgh, aged 92.
MURIEL Gibson was a well-known and much respected lady in Scotland who was closely involved in many different aspects of Scottish life. She was a proud Nationalist - long before it became accepted - and campaigned for the party and stood for parliament with a dogged determination. She was secretary of the SNP and devoted much time and energy to furthering its cause. She was also secretary of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society (RSCDS) and of the Russian Ballet Society, in Cramond. Gibson enjoyed a distinguished career in the Women's Royal Army Corps (WRAC) and after her retirement with Ferranti.
Margaret Muriel Gibson attended the High School for Girls, in Glasgow, and then joined the educational department of the city's council. On the outbreak of war, she joined the VAD and showed such talent for military life that she was encouraged to join the WRAC. Gibson served in Africa, Italy and Germany and was mentioned in despatches for her courage and dedication to duty. She was always fair and proved an inspiring leader even under the most trying conditions.
At the end of the war she returned to civilian life but preferred the WRAC. She rejoined and served until her retirement after 23 years' service with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Her thorough attitude to everything she undertook and her precise military mind ensured that Gibson would be useful in commercial and public office. In 1972, she joined the personnel department of Ferranti where she helped to build up the company in a period of considerable expansion. From there she was appointed in 1975 to be the director of the Red Cross in Hamilton before assuming her last post as the organising secretary of the RSCDS.
There she combined her great love and knowledge of Scottish folk music with dancing. Gibson was one of the honoured guests (along with the Earl of Mansfield) at a gala in 1988 to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the society. In 1988, when she retired from that post, the RSCDS decided to commission a Strathspey in her honour. As throughout her career Gibson had received letters, which started "Dear Sir," the society gave - with a keen sense of humour that Gibson much enjoyed - the dance the name of the "The Colonel is a Lady". Fittingly, that will be piped at her funeral tomorrow.
Gibson was active in politics from the early Thirties. Obviously, when a serving officer, she was not involved but her commitment to the SNP dates from 1932. As war broke out, Gibson - like many other SNP members - was detained by the police. As they put her in the van, her mother said to the officers: "Now you bring that lassie back here in the state you found her, or there'll be trouble." The treatment did not deter Gibson from giving loyal service to her country.
Her posts within the SNP were various but the most important was as national secretary. She stood in the 1970 general election for West Edinburgh.
Gibson was devoted to Scotland and was a leading member of the St Andrew Society. In many ways she epitomised what the society stands for: to promote the study and celebration of all things Scottish worldwide.
As if all these positions were not enough, she also acted as secretary to the Russian Ballet Group of which her sister, Eunice Bartell, is president.
The funeral of this spry and indefatigable lady will be on Saturday at St Ninian's Church Stirling at 11.00am.
She never married.