Respects paid to association founder

Presidents past and present and members of the Edinburgh and District Shetland Association joined family and friends at Warriston Crematorium on 19th February to pay their respects to the last founder member of the association, Joan Purdie.

Joan, or Joey, and her sister Maisie joined the association as teenagers when it was founded in 1928.

Joan was born in Edinburgh in May 1912, the daughter of Andrew Moar and Elizabeth Petrie. With the outbreak of World War One the family returned to Unst. Memories of Unst stayed with her throughout her long life.

Another vivid memory was the arrival of a telegram the week before Christmas 1917, bearing the news that her father’s ship had been torpedoed in the English Channel. Joan and her mother and sister moved to Lerwick shortly after.

On her mother’s remarriage the family moved back to Edinburgh where Joan and Maisie met up with other exiles at the herrin’ and tattie suppers, whist drives and dances arranged by the association.

After a nostalgic visit to Lerwick and Unst in 1933 she married John Purdie. Their first child was born brain damaged, but Joan was totally committed to her daughter, who died aged 30. After the war her second daughter Dorothy was born.

In recent years Dorothy had taken her mother on trips “home”. On their last visit much time was spent in the family archive room at the Hillhead where Joan managed to trace the Moar family back to the 14th century.

Joey maintained her interest in the association and particularly en­joyed the summer outings, especially the visit to the Earl of Zetland, now a floating restaurant in North Sheilds. She became frail as the Christmas party loomed, but was there to cut the cake.

On 10th February she passed away peacefully at Braeside House, a home for the elderly blind, where she had been a resident for two years.

This quiet, unassuming little lady is survived by her daughter Dorothy, son-in-law Jim and grandchildren Jehane and Neil and will be remembered by her many friends in Shetland and Edinburgh.

Vaila Irvine


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