I MUST pay tribute to the subject and author of the obituary of Mary E Mackenzie (Herald Obituary, November 9).

Alison Shaw captures the essence of this redoubtable lady who first contacted me some years ago to enlist my help in her campaign to highlight the threat to our nation's unique gift of common good assets.

There was nothing that I could teach her about the subject but she was of the old, hand-writing school, and while she frowned on the world that relied on computers she did realise the potential that lay in the use of word processing and online publishing. She referred to this as the "Google web tiddly pom pom thing".

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So in my small way, over a period of years I helped her to reach a wider audience than her pen and ink would otherwise have allowed. I was pleased to be able to do this as she was a remarkable person with a very high sense of civic duty.

I also, to some extent, felt cowed by her rather strict, dominie-like manner – something my former school teachers never achieved.

But there was another, lighter side to Mary and after spending hours on the telephone putting the world to rights she often ended our chats with a light-hearted anecdote, such as the time when, on her way into a board meeting, she was asked by a very influential, but pompous fellow director – who after many years was about to retire – if she planned to make a speech to mark his achievements in office. She told him: "I hadn't intended to, but if I do it will be very brief."

We are the poorer for her passing.

Tom Minogue,

94 Victoria Terrace, Dunfermline.