Flora Rennie, a native Gaelic speaker who become the owner of one of Scotland’s most famous jeweller shops, has died.
Stornoway-born Flora (nee MacLeod) died just months after closing Cairncross of Perth, which was famous as home to the Abernethy Pearl.
The freshwater pearl was discovered in 1967 by Scotland’s last pearl fisherman, Bill Abernethy, and was said to be among the largest ever found.
Flora, whose late husband, Mel, was chairman of Dunfermline Athletic Football Club, ran Cairncross from 1988 until its closure earlier this year.
She was born in Lewis to Margaret and John MacLeod (Shonny Calanais) and grew up playing among the Calanais Stones. She had three brothers, Kenny, Ronnie and John.
It was a crofting community of husbandry and cutting peat for fuel, underpinned by strict religious observance.
During the war years, she met her future husband, Mel, an RAF serviceman. After their marriage, the couple moved to the mainland into what was an alien world for a Gaelic speaker.
Flora and Mel had two daughters, Linda and Evelyn, and each summer was spent visiting relatives in Lewis.
Mel began work as joiner with the local authority in Fife before founding his own joinery business in 1955 which developed into a thriving enterprise as the new Forth Road Bridge created demand in the region.
Both Flora and Mel became established in the business community and enjoyed a vibrant social life.
Mel became a director of Dunfermline Athletic and later served as chairman from 1986 until 1991. Flora supported her husband, attended matches with him and later was made an honorary member of DAFC business club in his memory.
When she took over Cairncross, Flora enjoyed trips to Switzerland to select jewellery for what was one of Scotland’s more upmarket outlets.
Family breaks were spent at a house in Anstruther which Mel had refurbished to remind of her her childhood by the sea.
However, there was great sadness in 1996 when the couple lost their daughter, Evelyn, to breast cancer, and their son-in-law, Ian, a few months later.
This resulted in Mel and Flora bringing up their grandchildren, James, Craig and Lyn, while spending weekends with daughter Linda and her children, Vicky, Jenny and Graeme.
Mel died in 2002 and Flora devoted herself to to spending time with her family which included great-grandchildren Douglas, Alice, Anna, Penny, Alba and Evie.
Her daughter, Linda Watson, said: “My mother will be fondly remembered as stylish and organised and fiercely house proud.
“She was almost the last of her generation on both sides of the family so her passing is significant to the MacLeods and the Rennies.”
You can read the family’s announcement here.