Anne Gray: An Appreciation

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Dr Anne M.Gray
Secretary of Helensburgh Heritage Trust 1996-2004
Honorary Vice-President 2004-2008

By Trust chairman Stewart Noble

WHEN Betty Humphrey came up with the idea of a Heritage Trust for Helensburgh, she was still living in Station Road, Craigendoran, and it was natural that she should discuss the concept with her neighbours.

These included Dr Anne Gray and before long, in 1996, Anne had taken on the role of first secretary to the Heritage Trust. Her skill and meticulous attention to detail ensured that the Trust started off on a firm footing.

When I first joined the Board of the Heritage Trust it quickly became obvious to me just who was responsible for its smooth operation. Board meetings always took place in Anne's house; she said that all her papers were there, and so she could readily consult them if required.

The bonus to us as Board members was that she always remembered who liked which sort of biscuits, and Norman Glen was particularly pleased whenever fig biscuits appeared as he had found these difficult to get hold of himself!

When I became chairman I think that Anne realised that I try to rely on my memory too much at public meetings. Consequently I found that a little note was prepared for me just to make sure that I forgot nothing. If any form of catering were required, Anne made sure that everyone played their part in the organisation of it.

As both the daughter of a minister and the husband of a minister, Anne had a great knowledge of and deep appreciation for the Church. It was therefore most appropriate that, when the Trust book "200 Years of Helensburgh" was being prepared, Anne undertook to write the chapter on the religious history of the town.

Anne was also instrumental in setting up this Heritage Trust website β€” and it was amongst the first for Helensburgh, and perhaps even the very first.

Her farsightedness in doing this had an almost immediate benefit for the Trust; someone who hit on the Heritage Trust website very early on was Malcolm Baird, who is now the Trust's honorary president. We therefore have Anne to thank for "introducing" Malcolm to us.

Sadly, a few years ago Anne's health began to deteriorate, and she also suffered from an unfortunate series of accidents. Consequently she felt obliged to resign as secretary of the Heritage Trust.

It was a measure of the woman that one man was not enough to replace her! Donald Fullarton took on the roles of minutes secretary and website editor from her, while John Johnston, in addition to being treasurer, took on the role of company secretary.

The rest of the Board did not wish her resignation to pass unmarked, and so we were delighted to make her the Heritage Trust's first honorary vice-president. Consequently she continued to attend Board meetings for a while in that capacity.

At the well-attended funeral service in the West Kirk, the Rev David Clark said that β€œto be married to the Rev Ian Gray, you had to be a strong personality!" She certainly was that, and her strong personality will be missed by many of us with great affection.