Obituary: Lorraine Mulholland, teacher, singer and tireless worker for her local Kirk

Lorraine Mulholland, teacher, singer and church worker

Lorraine Mulholland

The sudden death on 26 April, at her home in Eddleston, of Lorraine Mulholland, cast a cloud of very great sorrow over not only her village community but in all the places throughout Peeblesshire and beyond where Lorraine’s rich talent brought joy and encouragement to so many people.

Lorraine was a great enthusiast in all that she did. She was never half-hearted in her efforts, always devoting a huge amount of time, care and energy to her wide range of interests, passionately believing that only the best she could offer was good enough.

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Like her husband, Peter, who was her faithful supporter in all that she did, Lorraine was a native of Elgin but, following a few years in Glasgow, the couple moved to Eddleston and established their home.

Early on Lorraine became involved in the life of the local parish church, becoming organist and some years later an elder, before becoming Session Clerk, a position to which she conscientiously devoted herself for many years.

To many folk in the village Lorraine was Eddleston Kirk. Her drive and enthusiasm were infectious and there are more than a few people in the district who have discovered talents they were unaware they possessed until they came under her influence.

This is especially true of musical talent. Never afraid to break new ground, Lorraine felt it was important to develop the congregation’s hymn-singing repertoire and from time to time she would delight worshippers by playing one of her own compositions as an organ voluntary or by singing a solo, for she was blessed with a beautiful voice.

Back in 1994, and encouraged by The Reverend David MacFarlane, Lorraine started the Eddleston Church Junior Choir.

Open to school-age children and drawing its members particularly from the local primary school, the Junior Choir followed the Royal School of Church Music’s “Voice For Life” scheme which includes elements of music theory and faith nurture as well as the opportunity to enjoy the thrill of singing as part of a choir.

Over the years many a reticent youngster was brought out of their shell under Lorraine’s influence. It was a source of considerable pride to Lorraine that the Junior Choir celebrated its 25th anniversary with a special concert in the church almost exactly a year ago.

Enthusiasm for choral singing was by no means restricted to Lorraine’s mentoring of children.

When she and a few others founded what is now known as Eddleston Voices it is doubtful if any of the group could have foreseen what a wonderful community choir the Voices would become. Perhaps in her heart of hearts Lorraine did see it!

From the start, Eddleston Voices has been about enjoyment.

There lies the key to the underlying philosophy to so many of the activities to which Lorraine devoted herself: creating, nourishing and sustaining relationships was always as important as the “headline” activity. Lorraine was always anxious to share two principles she passionately believed about singing.

First, everyone can sing. Secondly, singing is good for your health. It is fair to assume that anyone who has been part of Eddleston Voices has felt the better for each Thursday evening practice.

A very successful Eddleston Church initiative that has taken off in recent years has been “A Bite and a Blether” and in this as in so many Church enterprises, Lorraine was the driving force.

Devised as a tool for parish outreach this weekly Wednesday morning social gathering over tea, coffee, bacon rolls and home baking has brought people together as volunteers (including senior pupils from Eddleston Primary School), local users of the facility and visitors.

It has fostered friendships and provided a valued meeting-point. In those respects it meets both the aims of the Church and the needs of the community and the occasional musical input from Lorraine and others has been much enjoyed.

As Session Clerk at Eddleston, Lorraine was a tower of strength. Her conscientious approach and careful attention to detail, together with her deep faith and considerable energy, were a great blessing to the congregation. Without prompting she would assume responsibility for many of the ongoing tasks in the Church, either attending to them herself or organising others to share the burden.

Lorraine loved her Church and worked tirelessly for its well-being. She thought deeply about things and sought to relate faith to practice, theory to theology. She served as a member of Presbytery for many years and was pleased to represent Presbytery at the General Assembly.

In the wider community she worked as a primary teacher, latterly at Eddleston Primary but previously in various schools in the county.

As well as being a class teacher at Eddleston she taught music and was much involved in many a school concert or musical presentation. Over the years the many children and adults to whom she taught piano have owed her a great debt of gratitude.

At various times she had played for Peebles Orchestra and Peebles Singers and she tutored at Nomad Beat, which she chaired for several years.

There is much more that could be written but from all the above it is clear that Lorraine has left a huge and enduring legacy in her Church, in her local community and further afield.

Her energy and her enthusiasm, her smile and her wit, her generous spirit and her organisational skills will be badly missed far and wide, but nowhere more so than in her family.

To her husband Peter, her son, Patrick, her parents and her sister we extend our loving sympathy.

Rev Calum Macdougal