Music teacher An appreciation

Music teacher An appreciation

Born: December 3, 1915 Died: May 7, 2014

Loading article content

"A DAY without laughter is a day wasted" was the motto by which Anne Donnan lived her life. This was reflected in the manner in which her wide circle of friends responded when in her company.

Anne Paton Hannah Donnan was born in Hurlford in East Ayrshire in December 1915, the daughter of Maggie and Robert Torrance. The family was a musical one and along with her younger sister, Betty, Anne quickly absorbed a talent which served her well in later life.

Attending the Glasgow Athenaeum School of Music, which later became the Scottish National Academy of Music, she received a glowing testimonial describing her musical and pianistic gifts as "most marked, having amazing powers of concentration and powers of interpretation beyond the ordinary".

It was natural that she wished to share her gift so she became a music teacher in primary but mostly secondary school, until she retired in 1980.

Choral singing was also dear to her heart. Her school choirs were renowned, particularly for their smiling faces while they sang. She constantly taught that her choirs should look good as well as sounding good.

Having married Bill Donnan, from Newton Stewart, in 1942, she developed a love of Galloway and visited the area as often as she could. She was a member and latterly honorary president of the Galloway Association of Glasgow (now in its 23rd year) a charity devoted to benevolence to communities, causes and to young people throughout the region. The Annual Dinner of the Association in Gatehouse of Fleet was an event which Anne graced regularly, on one occasion arriving slightly late as she had been stopped by police on the A75 for speeding.

She was in her eighties at the time.

She lived the later years of her life in Sunderland and was widowed in 1976. Finding life lonely and with her family dispersed, she decided in her own words - "just to get oan wi' it" and used her musical talents to spread pleasure and joy for performing in pensioners and social clubs from a huge repertoire of mostly comic songs. One of those told of an unfortunate young Glasgow lass who suffered from a cross eye or, in the vernacular a belly having been hit on the head by a Milanda breadboard. A ditty on cholesterol also featured among her party pieces.

The year 2002 saw her meet the Duchess of Gloucester, who presented her with an award for The Oldest Amateur Performer in the North East. An invite to a garden party at Buckingham Palace followed.

This remarkable woman set off on her last journey in the beautiful parkland setting of Sunderland Crematorium to the strains of Bonnie Galloway. A packed congregation lifted their spirits to the tune of Bring Me Sunshine as they dispersed.

She is survived by sons Ian and Brian, daughter Eileen, grandchildren James and Fiona and great granddaughter Rebecca.