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Kincorth councillor who left her mark on Aberdeen, Margaret Clyne dies age 86

The Castlehill Housing Association stalwart was honoured when a street was named after her.

Margaret Clyne by the sign of the street named in her honour.
Margaret Clyne by the sign of the street named in her honour.

Former Kincorth councillor Margaret Clyne, who had an Aberdeen street named after her, has died aged 86.

The retired financial officer for Castlehill Housing Association and mum-of-four, was the inspiration behind the naming of Margaret Clyne Court.

Clever quine

Born on December 6 1936, Margaret – affectionately called “the quine” by her father – was raised on Union Grove, Aberdeen.

Her mother Gladys, from Fochabers, was employed as “a domestic”, and her dad George, who hailed from Gamrie, worked in the gasworks after the war.

She attended primary school locally but on passing the 11-plus Margaret earned a place at the Girls High School.

Though she benefitted educationally, Margaret’s life outside of school didn’t resemble that of her fellow pupils. Teased because her mother worked as a cleaner, Margaret wasn’t privileged in the way some of her school friends were.

Hard working

In order to buy a bike she did a paper round before and after school – and wasn’t averse to a shift tattie picking either.

Her hard work paid off in the form of her prized Raleigh bike which her father helped choose and haggle for.

Margaret, pictured in 1989, outside her Kincorth home.

As a child she loved going to the cinema to watch Westerns. The Odeon on Justice Mill Lane and the Playhouse on Union Street were her favourite venues.

On leaving school Margaret went to work right away. Having determined that the women who worked in the Co-op all looked happy she set her sights on a role there. Successfully achieved she said in later life her only regret was not specifying the type of job she really wanted.

Falling in love

By the mid-50s, when Margaret was just 16 years old she caught the attention of David Clyne. Fresh from his time with the Royal Marines during National Service the pair were at the dancing when they locked eyes.

They regularly enjoyed walking together from Castlegate to the Beach Ballroom. They married in the Salvation Army Citadel, where David’s family attended, on January 11, 1957.

David and Margaret Clyne on their Aberdeen wedding day.

They would go on to have four children: Keith, Melinda, Pamela and Kenny, who is now deceased.

In a recent journal she documented that David was the only man she had ever fallen in love with.

Working for the people

After the Co-op Margaret began working for Castlehill Housing Association in the finance department. Most of her career would be spent with Castlehill, eventually seeing Margaret Clyne Court named in honour of her hard work and dedication to the organisation.

1984 Labour Councillors David Clyne and wife Margaret are congratulated by daughter Melinda who was Mr Clyne’s election agent.

Both Margaret and David believed in working hard for the common good. They joined the Labour Party and David was elected to represent the people of Abbotswell within Aberdeen City District Council.

However, by 1984, politics really would become a family affair. On May 4 that year not only was David re-elected to the Abbotswell seat, Margaret won for Kincorth in the Grampian Regional Council elections.

Asked how they felt their appointments would impact family life Margaret said: “I did not see very much of David anyway, because of his local government work. So I thought, ‘if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.’”

Work hard, knit hard

As a councillor Margaret had the reputation for working hard for the people in her home ward. She sat on the water services, manpower, and finance and general purposes committees. This led to her forming a soft spot for visiting Torry Battery over the years as a result of her role in the development of the sewage works near there.

Councillor Margaret Clyne by the dual carriageway on the A90.

To let off steam after a hard day as the finance officer at Castlehill and her council duties Margaret would turn to lifelong hobby, knitting.

Margaret in an angora coat she knitted.

Prolific, as her mother had been also, Margaret described the hobby as “therapy”.

“When work is demanding and sometimes frustrating, what better way to get rid of pent-up tensions than in a session of fast and furious knitting?,” she once said in an interview.

The mum-of-four particularly favoured highly complex patterns, once knitting a full length angora coat in less than a fortnight.

Latter years

Grandma to six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, following her retirement Margaret was able to devote more time to travelling with David. She also enjoyed walking and visiting her daughter Melinda and her family in Australia.

“She loved life,” said Melinda. “Life wasn’t always easy but a lovely trait my mum had was being able to find something joyful in every day. It really was a bit of an honour to haver her as our mum.”

Kincorth councillor Margaret Clyne with cast-iron bollards on Fountainhall Road, Aberdeen.

Latterly her community involvement never waned. Margaret volunteered at Oxfam in Rosemount for many years and she was known to while away an entire day at a time in Aberdeen Art Gallery. Combining her Musical Memories group followed by tea on the terrace was the perfect day out.

Lost without her

In August 2022 David passed away. Just shy of one year later, on August 17, Margaret died peacefully listening to her favourite Frank Sinatra song, Moon River, at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.

A celebration of her life took place at Kaimhill Chapel, where they had celebrated David’s life a year earlier.

Melinda added: “Mum and I had started recording her memories in a book and it was fascinating to hear her recollections of growing up. She was a formidable woman; a woman who loved life. Who had a veracious appetite for whatever she felt passionate about.

“We feel a little bit lost without her. Without them both, actually.”