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Husband’s tribute to caring Newburgh teacher Moira Peck, 56

The mum-of-two taught at Ellon, Meldrum and Mintlaw academies.

Mum-of-two Moira Peck, known for her love of life and passion for teaching.
Mum-of-two Moira Peck, known for her love of life and passion for teaching.

Popular Ellon, Meldrum and Mintlaw Academy teacher, mum-of-two Moira Peck, has died aged 56.

Her husband Dan has paid tribute to the Newburgh support teacher who “lived life to the full” and “cared deeply”.

Path to teaching

Moira McColm Scade was raised in Ayrshire, the youngest of four children of plumber John Scade and his wife Elizabeth.

Born on November 24 1966, she attended Castlehill Primary then Belmont Academy, Ayr.

School days: A young Moira during her time in Ayrshire education.

With ambitions to become a teacher, from secondary school Moira enrolled at Queen Margaret College, Glasgow, where she studied home economics. From there she moved to London to complete her post-graduate teaching qualification at the Roehampton Institute.

Passion ignited

She secured her first job teaching home economics at an all-girls school in London, then moved to a second post in Surrey.

In the early 1990s Moira moved back to Scotland. After some interim work in catering she began a role teaching numeracy and literacy with Galloway Training, an organisation helping unemployed adults find work.

Seeing the tangible difference she could make to an individual, a passion ignited in Moira for support teaching.

Whirlwind romance

In 1993 Moira met Dan Peck. Over a drink in an Ayr pub, Dan – who worked at Prestwick airport – and Moira fell for each other immediately.

“It was a bit of whirlwind,” explained Dan. “Within a few months we had bought a house together, then in March 1994 we got married.”

The pair tied the knot in Troon registrar’s office and quickly started a family.

Dan and Moira Peck on their wedding day, in Troon.

Daughter Eva was born in November 1994, around the same time Dan got a new job at Aberdeen airport. In early 1995 they moved to Ellon and in July 1996 son Aiden came along.

“Moira had an amazing attitude to life. When I told her about the possibility of a job n Aberdeen she said, ‘sure let’s go’. She was an ‘if it’s right it’s right’ sort of person,” added Dan.

Life in Aberdeenshire

The family moved to Craig Park Circle and Moira started supply teaching before securing a permanent job at Ellon Academy teaching children with additional support needs.

Moira with Eva and Aiden in 2008 at her Masters graduation from Aberdeen University. Picture by Kami Thomson / DC Thomson.

In 2001 they relocated to Newburgh and the following year Moira became the support teacher for the new Meldrum Academy.

Dan said: “She loved Meldrum. Being a new school she could put her own stamp on things. She was there for about 12 years before she took on a similar role at Mintlaw Academy that also involved early intervention work with children from feeder primary schools.”

In between times Moira completed a Masters degree in education from Aberdeen University to became a chartered teacher.

Island dreams

Looking forward to their retirement Moira and Dan had dreamed about returning to their Ayrshire roots by moving to the Isle of Arran.

“It looked like our dream was becoming a reality. In November 2021 Moira saw a job at Arran High School, went for it and got it.

“We were all set. We put our house up for sale and she started work in February 2022. Sadly that all changed in the spring.”

The Peck family: Dan, Moira, Eva and Aiden, from Newburgh.

In May, just three months after starting her new job, Moira was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

“It was a shock. There hadn’t been too many symptoms but as usual Moira handled things with it in an amazing way. She just got on with it.

“Her attitude was ‘I can’t change the fact I have it, I know I’m going to die, but what I do until then is up to me’.”

Making the most of her time

The devastating news changed the family’s plans.

As their house in Newburgh hadn’t sold, Moira stopped working in Arran and they returned to Aberdeenshire where she underwent chemotherapy.

On April 3 11 months from her diagnosis, Moira died.

Happy memories of Italian holidays where Moira Peck loved to visit.

“In those 11 months she packed everything in.

“We went to a family wedding in Ayr. There was a trip to Sardinia. We visited Inverness and went to Bath for a holiday. We went down to Edinburgh and went to concerts. She kept up with friends. Moira knew she was terminal from the beginning which only served to drive her forward in making memories.

“It was our wedding anniversary just a few days before she died. We went out on that day and after that she went a bit downhill. She had one day in bed in 11 months, and that’s when she passed away, at home.”

Proud of her

A celebration of Moira’s life took place at Aberdeen Crematorium on Monday April 17.

“The house is just full of cards and they all say the same thing; that Moira cared.

“You know, in all the years I never once heard her say the words ‘I don’t care’. She deeply cared. About people. About me and the kids. She cared about helping others. About making sure schools were equipped to understand dyslexia and support needs. She truly cared.”

With a vibrancy and love of life Moira Peck loved outdoor pursuits such as kayaking.

Asked how he’d like people to remember Moira Dan remarked on her humility.

“She was too humble to be proud of herself but I can say absolutely that I’m so proud of her.

“She was a wee girl from a council house, the first in her family to go to university and nothing in her life was half-hearted. Music wasn’t just loud it was full blast. Her school trips weren’t just to the local library or museum, they involved water sports and gorge walking all over Europe. Moira lived life to the full and all those lucky enough to have known her are better for it.

“Missed doesn’t come close. My wife was amazing.”

You can read the family’s announcement here.