A silver plaque inscribed for Mary Murray was the first of its kind to be attached to the white bench that overlooks Greyhope Bay. With it comes a story of a happy Torry marriage – but also a family devastated by pain.
Seaton to Torry
Mary Murray, originally Mary Smith Petrie, was born in 1929 in Seaton, Aberdeen. The daughter of a butcher, she had four siblings and attended primary school near her home and then on to Powis Academy.
When she left school Mary became a fish filleter and did that for her entire working life.
A skilled trade, it was there – working for various companies – that she made friends. It was also later through work that she found the love of her life, Bob Murray, who hailed from the St Nicholas area of the city and also worked in the fish trade.
The couple wed in 1954 and went on to have four children – three sons and one daughter. For most of their lives together they lived in their Tullos Road home in Torry.
Firmly embedded in Torry life, son Michael (60) recalls growing up at a time when Victoria Road was the beating heart of the community.
“It was thriving. You couldn’t walk two feet without seeing someone you knew. Both my parents loved being part of life in Torry.”
In later years Mary, who was a granny and a great-grandmother, developed Alzheimer’s. Though difficult for the family it coincided with huge trauma – the unexplained disappearance of daughter Lynne. Mary’s illness shielded her somewhat from the pain.
Lynne, who had two sons and a grandchild, disappeared on August 21 2006 after visiting relatives in hospital.
No answers before she passed
Bob and Mary made appeals at the time, with Bob speaking to The Press and Journal one year after the disappearance too.
Police searches and alleged sightings didn’t provide any clues.
Mary passed away in Torry Nursing Home on October 11 2011 age 82 without ever knowing what happened to her only daughter.
When his wife died, Bob knew of the perfect place for a lasting memorial.
“My dad thought he owned the Bay of Nigg,” said Michael. “He was up there three of four times a day. He knew everyone that was a regular to the area and so putting a plaque there on a bench was his way of staying close to mum.”
Bob asked Michael’s best friend, Alex McGregor, to help him. Alex organised to have the plaque made and it was Alex who screwed in the special plate into the white bench near the lighthouse.
“It’s funny how life is. When Alex died it was me who attached his plaque. So this is place that’s doubly special for me now.”
Michael, who has now lost both parents, two of his siblings, his nephew and his best friend, knows more than most why having a place to remember loved ones is so special.
“I think it’s fair to say the memorial bench has seen better days. It’s going to crumble one day, I’m sure. But for now it’s a place that’s just Torry in its heyday all wrapped up in one place. Great people, who worked locally, who all knew one another, remembered by the people who love them.”
Bob died on September 11 2013 aged 81. A life member of Nigg Bay Golf Club he survived seven heart attacks in his lifetime. Though later information concerning Lynne would emerge, he also never found out what happened to his daughter, before he died.