AN elderly woman has died in a car crash along with her brother, less than 48 hours before they were due to attend her son's funeral.

Margaret Watson, 77, and Dennis Morrice, 80, were killed after the car they were travelling in collided with a van on a rural road.

The pensioners were believed to be on their way home when the tragedy happened, travelling north on the A952 road on Monday night in Aberdeenshire.

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Mrs Watson and her family were due to attend her 57-year-old son David Watson's funeral today. The father-of-three fell ill at work suddenly and died of a suspected heart attack on January 31. His funeral is being held at Ellon Parish Church at 11am.

Mr Watson, of Ellon, had often travelled north to work on the family farm near the village of Sandhaven on the outskirts of Fraserburgh.

Relatives were comforting Mrs Watson's husband Alistair at the farm house yesterday and were too upset to speak about the tragedy.

Neighbour Scott McRae, 37, a tenant living on their land, was shocked to hear of the pensioner's death.

He said: "She was a kind, loving and generous person. I can't speak highly enough of them. They are very well known in the community.

"Their family have farmed the land for 600 years, that's one of the reasons why he keeps going, he doesn't want to break the chain."

The van driver was rushed to hospital with serious injuries following the accident on the Mintlaw-Fraserburgh road on Monday night.

The crash happened a few miles from the village of Mintlaw, on a straight stretch of road near the Hythie junction after 6pm.