Tributes to “a real Cumbernauld Character”

Agnes MCarton
Agnes MCarton

ONE of the last of the real Cumbernauld Characters – that is one of the tributes paid to a local legend who passed away before Christmas, aged 77.

Agnes McCartan is a name that may not register with all – but those who worked for the Cumbernauld Development Corporation all knew ‘Big Aggie.’

The robust Glasgwegian who moved to Cumbernauld’s Millcroft Road in the 1960s quickly established herself as a force to be reckoned with on joining the CDC as one of its first female landscape workers in the Direct Works Department.

Larger-than-life Aggie turned up for a job at a nursery in Palacerigg with landscape boss Bobby Johnstone wanting to know the ages of the children who would be in her charge.

When told that the nursery was in fact for trees and shrubs Aggie was undaunted as she loved being out of doors and was strong enough to cope with the rigors of the work itself.

Her boss, CDC landscape chief Bobby Johnstone, said: “She worked like a man and she played like a man. She had a heart of gold. Everyone knew her. She really loved the work and became a foreman in Seafar. Aggie was always looking out for other people. She would have given you her last.’’

Bobby added: “It was because of ordinary people like former factory worker big Aggie that the landscape of this town is what it is today. This is their legacy to the people of Cumbernauld and they should never be forgotten.’’

Her son John Irvine who lives in Germany said: “Mum came over last year to see our home and she absolutely loved it. She would sit outside – she loved getting a bit of sun!’’

A delay in returning Aggie to the airport in Dusseldorf meant that John had an extra three days with his mum and that she was able to see a bit more of the German countryside that her son has grown to love.

“It was great that she managed to see us over there,” said fluent German speaker John, who served in the Army for 30 years and recently retired as a Welfare Senior Non Commissioned officer in the Royal Engineers.

“Mum was always the one who laid down the rules – my father was quite a quiet man – but she was a legend.

“At the end of her life she was still sharp mentally but she told me that her body couldn’t keep up,” he added.

Aggie lived in the Roadside complex for senior citizens before she was admitted to Carrickstone Day Hospital where she passed away.

In addition to her 10 grandchildren she is survived by John, daughters Elaine, who lives in Cumbernauld, and Lesley in Fort William, plus David who is stationed with the RAF in New Zealand.