Obituary: Bermuda Dow, community stalwart

Bermuda Dow: Tireless heart of community life in her adopted hometown of Huntly
Bermuda Dow: Tireless heart of community life in her adopted hometown of Huntly
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Born: 27 September, 1934, in Elgin, Moray. Died: 21 October, 2013, in Huntly, Aberdeenshire, aged 79

Bermuda “Muda” Dow was the original community stalwart. From her youth, she threw herself into community activities and the lifetime beneficiary was her adopted Huntly in Aberdeenshire.

Muda Dow loved life, and in turn, life loved her. She was active in church and charity, health and history. Whenever local action was needed, the town turned to Mrs Dow. She helped and organised the local Christian Aid appeal for more than three decades. She was treasurer of the local Women’s Guild for more years than folk could recall, and a stalwart member of Huntly Parish Church.

Nor was she alone in this, for her greatest helpmate was her beloved husband George, a manager with the Co-op. He backed her in all she did and assisted local charities in his own right. Thus he was a volunteer with the group in the burgh dedicated to helping stroke victims regain new life, as well as acting as organiser and treasurer of the community mini-bus team.

It came as a surprise to no-one except grandparents Muda and George that six years ago, both aged 73, their tireless efforts for their town over decades were recognised in their being made joint Citizens of the Year in annual awards by Huntly Rotary Club. The honour came their way after their exceptional nomination as both individuals and as a couple.

In typically modest fashion, Muda and George simply said that they were “delighted and amazed” at such public acknowledgement.

Huntly, the town, its history and its people, was the stuff of Muda Dow’s life. An early battle fought and lost was the closure in 1967 of the town cinema, a loss made all the more poignant by the fact projectionist Alan Smith had just clocked up 50 years at the pictures. When some 15 years ago, a move to seek a town coat-of-arms initially drew only lukewarm support from the community council, it was Muda who drummed up interest that saw the project succeed.

Local history was the stuff of life to her and, for around a quarter of a century, she was secretary of Strathbogie Field Club, an organisation with Victorian roots specialising in the lore, history and natural history of that part of Deveron vale centring on Huntly. Thus she it was who organised lectures by learned speakers each winter, and outings in summer to historic homes and places of interest not ordinarily open to the public.

Bermuda Polson Greig – how she gained her unusual Christian name remains an unsolved family puzzle – was born in Elgin, raised in Rothes and Buckie and arrived in the town she grew to love aged just 15. She trained as a secretary and worked as a telephonist until her long and happy marriage to husband George in 1957.

She was predeceased recently by her husband, and is survived by son Mark and grandchildren Aidan and Ella.