If there’s one thing you quickly learn about the late Margaret Alker, it’s that she was well-loved.
At her funeral in Edlen Chapel on Wednesday, friends and family alike describe Margaret as gracious, kind, loving and generous. Her three children, Les, Mary Cadell and Bina all spoke of a warm woman who gave them every opportunity in life.
“Mum would never have wanted this to be a sad occasion,” Mary said.
“She loved nothing more than to see people enjoying each other’s company.
“Looking around, seeing you all today, I think she’d be delighted to know that she’d once again organised a wonderful gathering.”
“Mum was quite simply the most gracious, generous and loyal person I have ever met,” she said.
“She loved us unconditionally and was fiercely supportive of Dad and all of us, always.
“She believed in giving everyone, in and out of the family, the benefit of the doubt, no matter what. Her empathy and generosity of spirit touched all that knew her and she remained gracious, brave and dignified to the very end.”
Mary recalled holidays and happy times with her mother, and reflected on her humourous side.
“She took a lot of things very seriously but she could always see the funny side and never missed a joke,” she said.
Mary’s brother, Les, reflected on “Team John and Margaret Alker”’s heavy involvement in the Wean Picnic Races and Margaret’s massive efforts in organising trainers and horses, and feeding hordes of people on a regular basis.
“It was a tremendous undertaking on her part,” Mr Alker said.
“Mum had a special way of dealing with people. She never saw people in the light that they projected of themselves.
“Throughout our upbringing, she used to drum that lesson into us – ‘Always find the good and focus on that’, she would say, ‘You will never get anywhere focusing on the bad’.
“Of all her attributes, I believe that in her public life, this was Mum’s greatest achievement.”
Margaret and John’s youngest child, Bina, said her mother was always immaculate and loved clothes and makeup. Even after she moved into Lundie House, John still visited his wife daily and took her to get her hair done once a week.
“Mum was always so proud of her and Dad’s relationship and commitment that they had to each other and Dad always made Mum his priority,” Bina said.
“She was incredibly strong and had a way of ensuring that her thoughts were heard and understood. I feel incredibly privileged to have had my mum in my life for so many years.
“Mum’s positive influence spanned the generations of people she met and it took only one meeting for people to know the type of person she was.”
On behalf of his siblings Will and Kate, Margaret’s grandson Al Cadell shared memories of “Gaga” who was “a continuous figure of warmth and kindness in our lives for as long as we can ever remember”.
“She was witty and fun, she was even a bit mischievous at times,” Al said.
“Amid a chaos of Alker Christmas’, Gaga was our commander in charge, overseeing the orderly distribution of gifts and making sure you never left the table without at least a fourth serving of flamed pudding.
“One of the things we loved about Ga was the tremendous energy she got from being around the people she loved, whether it was enjoying a day out at the races, cooking up a Christmas feast or attending one of our boring sports events or plays, Ga was always there with bells on”
“Even as Ga got older, she never missed a chance to show us just how much we mattered to her, even if it meant climbing flights of stairs with the walker or sitting for hours in the blazing sun to be with us. She was always the first in line to tell us how wonderful we were, and even when we weren’t,” Al said.
“Ga was a constant in our lives and loved us all.
“Ga was and continues to be the glue that holds that Alker clan together.”
Margaret Alker died on September 30, aged 87.