Foula stalwart Isobel dies after a lengthy illness
Well-known Foula resident and island spokesperson Isobel Holbourn died on Sunday, after a lengthy illness with cancer.
Mrs Holbourn, maiden name Boyd, first came to Shetland in 1956. Her family moved from Peebles after her father George got a job as teacher in Foula.
Although she moved away from the isle as a youngster, she spent the majority of her life there, coming back to Foula to have children with first husband Kenneth Gear.
A writer and broadcaster, Mrs Holbourn was very active in the community. She was a member of the Foula Heritage Trust, the Foula Airstrip Trust and the Foula Electricity Trust, as well as being elected to Scottish Natural Heritage north area board from 1997 to 2003. She will be a huge loss to the community and her friends and family.
She also worked as secretary at the school and taught the children knitting and about Shetland and Foula, subjects she was very interested in.
Her 70th birthday party, which was described as “a very joyful occasion”, was held in the summer, attended by many friends and family who came from as far away as Canada and Germany to celebrate.
Friend Nan Kerry met Mrs Holbourn when, as a young girl at the Anderson Educational Institute and no regular trips home to Foula, she and her sister Liz would come to stay with Nan’s family in Bigton. They remained friends for 53 years.
Mrs Kerry said the occasion of her birthday was “just brilliant” with “music and dancing to the end”. She said of Mrs Holbourn: “She was full of fun, always up for a laugh and she saw the great side of everybody.”
Mrs Holbourn leaves two sons, Bobby and Kenneth Gear, five grand-daughters and a baby great-grand-daughter.
Mrs Kerry said: “She was very accomplished in many ways, but she was most proud of her family.”