GP and charity fundraiser;
Born: December 1, 1926; Died: February 17, 2013.
Dr Mary Barlee, who has died aged 86, was a former GP who dedicated much of her time to volunteering for Riding for the Disabled. She first went to The Drum Riding for the Disabled at Gilmerton on the west side of Edinburgh in 1974 and became an assistant at riding classes principally for Thalidomide children.
Within a year she joined the Drum Trust and in 1981 was appointed the principal organiser. It proved an inspired appointment as her drive, energy and good nature were ideal in the many aspects of running such a far-reaching charity.
Many of her friends at The Drum recall Dr Barlee's imaginative schemes to raise funds. These included flag days, special promotions and ensuring that there were Christmas card stalls at horse shows and pre-Christmas events.
Margaret Temple, who worked with Dr Barlee at The Drum for many years, recalls: "Mary was The Drum's leading spirit. She was so enthusiastic as a fund- raiser – always diplomatic and courteous. It was Mary who expanded the Drum by transforming the school and building the undercover area that ensured we had classes in all weather and four times on a Saturday. Prior to that, the space was windy, cold and unpleasant for the riders. That project was Mary's outstanding successes and is her undoubted legacy at The Drum."
Edith Mary Barlee was brought up in Haddington where her father, Dr William McLean, was the local GP. She attended Knox Academy in Haddington but was evacuated during the early war years to live with an uncle and aunt in Innellan near Dunoon – attending Dunoon Academy. She read medicine at Edinburgh University, qualifying in 1949, and after various houseman appointments, trained as a GP and joined her brother at the practice in Haddington.
In 1957 she studied for her diploma in public health serving with Edinburgh's City Hospital's infectious diseases department and in the Public Health Department in Dunfermline. She married, in 1961, and lived in Edinburgh.
Her busy life continued and, with a son and a daughter to bring up, Dr Barlee was much involved with Christchurch at Holycorner and acting as the Brownie's Badge Secretary for Edinburgh.
The Drum had been started in 1959 and had greatly benefited from a group of devoted helpers. Dr Barlee purchased a Fell pony called Daleman Dandelion ("a lovely good-natured pony" – and usually shortened to Dandy) so that her daughter, Rosemary, could learn to ride. The pony was also ridden at The Drum by the disabled pupils.
It was not only Dr Barlee's imaginative schemes to raise money that friends recall with warmth. Her quiet and calm resolve to see projects through proved invaluable, as was her unruffled manner and love for everyone at the Drum. Margaret Temple summed her friend up: "When Mary took on a task she did not give up. She saw things through to the end. It all came naturally to her."
Dr Barlee remained a much valued trustee until her retirement in 2005 and greeted the charity's president, Princess Anne, to the school on several occasions. She was awarded the MBE in 2001 and given the 25-year long service award from Riding for the Disabled in 1999.
Dr Barlee was a most conscientious member of the community and a sympathetic and patient medical practitioner.
She was a keen golfer at the Prestonfield Club and a skier in the Cairngorms. In 1987 she and her husband retired to West Linton.
Dr Barlee is survived by her husband, their son and daughter and three grandchildren.
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