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Sheila Ritchie: Fraserburgh florist dies aged 73

Sheila Ritchie of Florianna's.

If you ever bought flowers in Fraserburgh over the last 40 years there’s a good chance you’ve come across Sheila Ritchie.

For the Fraserburgh born and bred florist served the town for most of her life.

Now, in light of her death, we look back on the life of the Broch floral artist, mum and gran who has died aged 73.

Mid Street start

Sheila was born on the January 19, 1948 to George and Elsie Watt.

An only child she started life in Mid Street before moving to the ‘new builds’ in West Road.

But life wasn’t lonely despite no siblings.

A young Sheila Ritchie from Fraserburgh.

She was thrilled to tell everyone she met that she had 32 first cousins.

Sheila was educated first at Fraserburgh Infant School, then Central School – now known as St Andrew’s – before joining a language class at the Academy.

Love of nature

Animals and nature were always close to Sheila’s heart.

A keen interest in insects and beasties often saw her annoyed at the ‘coorse loons’ she had to endure at school.

Those who took great joy in dissecting frogs would often tease her for soft heart towards animals.

But after an incident involving a dog biting her she turned away from hopes of becoming a vet, toward floristry instead.

Floral career

Sheila’s career began when worked for McKay and then Woods the Florists in Fraserburgh before going off to night school in Aberdeen.

There she achieved her Interflora certificate.

She was also involved with the musical society and junior arts along with her friends.

Popular florist, Sheila Ritchie.

But after a stint in Call Me Madame she opted for more of a backstage role painting and building scenery.

Family of her own

On August 8, 1970 Sheila married Thomas Buchan.

They lived in an upstairs flat in Albert Street with an outside toilet.

Sheila worked in Fine Fare on Broad Street but was never keen on the orange overalls for fear she looked like a big satsuma when she was pregnant.

Her daughter Ainsley was born in 1972, and with her came great joy.


Her floristry came in to force again when she took a job on Mid Street before moving round to High Street to open her own shop, Florianna’s.

By this time they lived on Argyll Road.

Sheila took the decision to close the High Street Shop for a job in Fraserburgh Hospital.

At first she was a kitchen auxiliary, then a supper cook but her love of trying new things got her into trouble with the matron.

Four generations: Sheila, far right with her mum Elsie, daughter Ainsley and granddaughter Rowan.

Desperate to spice things up for the ‘poor craters’ she famously turned scrambled egg and macaroni cheese bright pink.

From the hospital Sheila moved on to volunteer at Westfield school and Ark Court but she never truly left floristry.

Doing favours for friends and neighbours getting married kept her creativity flowing.

So it was no surprise she returned to full-time floristry before too long.

Watt and Stephen’s floristry department

Starting afresh in Watt and Stephen’s on Commerce Street she reopened Florianna’s in 1987 with a floristry department in the shop.

She eventually relocated the business to Frithside Street in 1989 where she remained for many years.

On returning from college in Aberdeen Ainsley helped at the weekends before taking over some of the work later.

Love in later life

Sheila divorced Thomas Buchan and later met John Stephen Ritchie.

They married on April 15, 1993 in their house in Broadsea.

John and Sheila Ritchie.

After Sheila’s dad George died her mum Elsie moved in next door where Sheila cared for her until her death in 2009.

Florianna’s remained open – now on High Street – where Sheila worked until her retirement in 2012.

Ainsley, then married Ian Dyga.


The couple welcomed Sheila’s granddaughter – Rowan Sheila – into the world in 2006.

By the time grandson Arran came along in 2012 Sheila was retiring but many years of hard work had taken its toll on her health.

In 2019 Sheila had a fall where she broke her hip.

Sheila Ritchie with her beloved grandchildren.

Ainsley said: “My mum was never quite so confident to go out after that.

“She preferred to stay in the house where Stephen looked after her.”

Ahead of her time

A well respected and well-loved Fraserburgh quine, Ainsley added that her mum would be well missed in the town.

“So very creative, talented and always before her time with things.

“She will be well remembered not only for her talent in floristry but her talent as an artist and her kind personality.”

You can read the family’s announcement here.