Tributes to Scots woman who died in South America

TRIBUTES have been paid to an adventurous Scot who died ­suddenly while trekking in South America.

Annie Johnston had been hiking on the border between Chile and Argentina when she fell ill and died. Picture: Contributed
Annie Johnston had been hiking on the border between Chile and Argentina when she fell ill and died. Picture: Contributed
Annie Johnston had been hiking on the border between Chile and Argentina when she fell ill and died. Picture: Contributed

Annie Johnston, 41, had been hiking on the border of Chile and Argentina when she fell ill and died.

Ms Johnston was originally from Edinburgh but had moved to Singapore, where she worked as a manager with an international hotel group.

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She was also involved with the Tabitha Foundation, an organisation that carries out charitable work in Cambodia.

She had previously travelled to the country and worked with children there.

Her parents Bill and Jean Johnston, of Murrayfield, Edinburgh, said their daughter was “always smiling”.

Mr Johnston, 75, said: “She was a really adventurous woman. She would have died happy and doing what she loved – that is the most important thing.

“I don’t know if she had a smile on her face when she died, but I like to think so as she was always smiling.”

Ms Johnston’s love of the great outdoors began while she was at Rannoch School, an independent boarding school on the banks of Loch Rannoch in Perthshire, where she excelled at mountaineering and joined the Officer Training Corps.

Ms Johnston graduated from Oxford Brookes University in 1995 with a Bachelor of Science and travelled to countries including Kenya, Venezuela and Austria. She climbed Africa’s highest peak, Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, in 2013.

Her family and friends are to gather for her funeral service at Warriston Crematorium in ­Edinburgh tomorrow and mourners have been encouraged to donate money to the Tabitha Foundation.

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She leaves behind her parents, her brother John and sister-in-law Gillian.

A tribute made by her family through the Tabitha Foundation praised Ms Johnston’s generosity and revealed that funds raised would be used to build homes for the poor in Cambodia under the title “Project Annie”. The project has already raised around £1,700.

It said: “After family, friends and an adventurous outdoor life, helping others was very important to Annie.

“Whilst living in Singapore, she got immense satisfaction from her trips to Cambodia and especially loved meeting the children.

“Part of her dream was to continue raising money and working with the foundation after she had moved back to Singapore and we are immensely proud of what she has achieved in her short, successful and happy life.

“Everyone remembers her smiling face and we know that it would have meant a lot to her to have this project in her name.

“All the funds that are collected will go to building houses in Cambodia to help families in need.

“We will be donating these houses under the name ‘Project Annie’ so we know that her legacy in Cambodia will continue to live on.

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“Thank you for your support – Jean, Bill and all of Annie’s family.”

Tributes to Ms Johnston were also posted on Facebook. Kathy Tucker said: “RIP Annie you will be missed.”

Christine Chalmers said: “God bless Annie – you are a shining star now.”

Lesley Ieremia added: “I’m still in shock. She was just so full of life and it doesn’t make it any easier, but in a way I’m so happy that she was doing what she loved the most and that was on an adventure in the great outdoors.”

A Foreign Office spokesman said: “We can confirm the death of a British national in Argentina on 9 January.

“We are providing consular assistance to the family.”

Earlier this month, it emerged that Scottish climber Roger Cookson had died after falling ill while attempting to scale a mountain in the Andes.

The 58-year-old, who was a member of the Cairngorm Club climbing group, suffered a heart attack as he climbed Mount Aconcagua in Argentina.