THE team at Cumbernauld Action Care for the Elderly have sadly lost a larger than life character from their ranks, but are determined that her legacy will live on.
Emily Thomson, of South Carbrain, founder member and convener of the charity for more than 22 years, passed away on March 15 at the age of 84.
Annie Millar, chief executive of CACE, said: “She referred to myself and the CACE staff as her ‘weans’ and greeted all of us with a ‘big loving hug’. For me personally, I have lost a dear friend and colleague.”
Emily was born in the Gallowgate in Glasgow, before moving to Carntyne. She was the youngest of 10 children and had six sisters and three brothers.
She and her late husband Andy met in the famous Barrowlands Ballroom and bonded over a love of dance. They lived in Twechar for a time, before moving to Drumchapel and eventually to Cumbernauld in the mid-sixties.
Care for older people mattered greatly to Emily and she volunteered for the Scottish Old Age Pensioners Association (SOAPA) and Age concern.
Having nine siblings meant that Emily was always going to have a large family, perhaps an understatement when you consider that she had no less than 57 nieces and nephews. One of her nieces, Margharita McCallum, spoke of her fond memories of her auntie.
She said: “She was on so many different committees and had a big personality. The rights of elderly people always mattered very much to her.
“She was always on the go, even when she was struggling with health problems, she didn’t feel sorry for herself. She was always out there singing Glasgow street songs.”
Emily, along with Esme Locke and Edna McKenzie, were asked by SOAPA to investigate what services there were for older people in Cumbernauld as the new town’s population grew. What started as a campaigning organisation quickly evolved to become CACE as it is known today.
Annie Millar added: “She always supported me and was a listening ear through both challenging and good times in the development of CACE.
“I fondly remember her saying, ‘Gae away hame hen and cool yer brain.’ It is a great loss to all of her ‘weans’. However, she leaves behind the legacy of CACE and we can justifiably be proud of all she achieved. A life well lived.”
In a fitting tribute to Emily, Karen Howlett, a member of the CACE team, has penned a poetic tribute. It concludes: “It’s with a heavy heart that we say cheerio; you’ll be greatly missed as you probably know; at the meetings and daycare it won’t be the same; but we will think of you always, love awe yer weans.”