Peace campaigner

Born: May 5, 1918;

Died: April 15, 2015

Margaret Harrison, who has died aged 96, was one of Scotland's best known campaigners against nuclear weapons and helped to found the Faslane Peace Camp.

She was arrested at least 14 times while taking part in demonstrations against the Polaris and Trident missiles and submarines based at Dunoon and Coulport on the Firth of Clyde. She was also taken into custody by the police at the annual Easter demonstration at the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment at Aldermaston in Berkshire, Greenham Common and the United States air base at Molesworth in Cambridgeshire.

Her involvement in the peace movement arose naturally from her strong Christian convictions. She always said in her straightforward uncomplicated way that Jesus told us to love one another so killing people must be wrong.

This was a belief from which this quiet, dignified woman who brought up a family and wrote poetry in her old age never wavered her whole life.

Her beliefs underpinned her desire to see an end to poverty and war in the world.

With her husband, Bobby, she was a well kent face at the Clyde Naval Base at Faslane and the US Polaris missile base in the Holy Loch at Dunoon.

She also attended the annual pensioners' gathering at Greenham Common and was regularly seen showing solidarity with fellow peace activists at RAF Molesworth. This was while facilities were being constructed for the United States Air Force in Europe to support ground-launched cruise missile operations in the early 1980s.

It was here she began a lifelong friendship with the internationally renowned peace campaigner Jean Kaye Hutchison, who was deeply involved in the women's peace camps at Greenham Common and Aldermaston.

Margaret Harrison knew well what it was to be held by the police and then spend a night in the cells during demonstrations. About 1962, she decided not to pay the fine and go to jail to highlight the cause for peace. She was however furious when a newspaper paid the fine in order to get a story for their front page - "especially when they printed a lot of nonsense."

Margaret and Bobby were presented with a crystal bowl by the CND in 1970s for their tireless work for peace which included helping to establish the universally known peace camp at the Faslane gates of the Clyde Naval Base on the Gareloch.

They were also awarded the Freedom of Dumbarton for their work for peace along with her sister, Bee, and Church of Scotland minister Arthur McEwan for their work for Amnesty International.

Born in Dumbarton, she was the daughter of John George and Maggie Burnett. She had two sisters, Ruth and Lizzie (Bee), to whom she was very close all of their lives.

She went to Knoxland Primary School and Dumbarton Academy and spent a happy childhood in the east end of the town. Her first and only job was as a tracer in Denny's shipyard drawing office where she happily worked for ten years until her marriage to Bobby on June 1, 1945, in St Augustine's Church Scottish Episcopal Church in Dumbarton High Street.

During her time at Denny's, her interests included acting. She was a member of Scottish People's Theatre (SPT) when their Little Theatre at Bankend was destroyed by an enemy bomb in 1941. In a little book of Dumbarton Memories, she writes that when she heard of the bomb her first thought was that she had just polished the seats in the auditorium. She joined Dumbarton People's Theatre where she had a lot of fun and where she took part in Romeo and Juliet.

She usually arrived at her work on a Saturday morning with her rucksack, ready to go off with her friends or sisters youth hostelling around Loch Lomond and the Trossachs. It was on one of these weekends that Bobby, a Liverpool man who adopted Scotland as his home, came cycling into her life at Monachyle, near Balquidder.

She was a life-long member of the Scottish Episcopal Church, firstly St Augustine's and then St Mungo's, Alexandria where she moved to support a friend who had become the vicar there. She taught Sunday school for about 40 years.

She always wanted to write and joined the Alexandria Writing Group, where she was made an honorary member and had a collection of the group's poems dedicated to her when she left Dumbarton aged 95 to go and live with her daughter, Anne, and her husband, Eric Macarthur, in Castle Douglas, Kirkcudbrightshire. Many of her writings reflected her deep desire to see an end to poverty and war.

She loved to entertain audiences with funny recitations, some of which she adapted to suit the situation, acting all the parts with different voices and accents. She continued to do this after her move to Castle Douglas, entertaining the other senior citizens at the day care group which she attended twice a week.

Throughout her life, she welcomed lonely people into the family, providing hospitality by sharing meals and even holidays, always putting the needs of others before her own. This was something which her husband did not always find easy.

She had a particular compassion for people with mental health problems as she herself had gone through a period of severe depression and knew how debilitating and isolating that could be. She spent many years regularly visiting patients in Gartnavel Hospital in Glasgow.

Although only spending two years there, she touched the lives of the many people in Castle Douglas who got to know and love her.

In his own autobiography, Bobby said of his wife that she was" the kind of person who could never deceive anyone even if she tried, and I have never met a kinder, more trusting or unsophisticated person before or since".

John Ainslie, who is coordinator for the Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said: "Margaret Harrison was an inspiration for many people of all ages in the peace movement. Along with her husband Bobby, she played a key role in establishing the peace camp at Faslane.

"Her friendly attitude and resilience encouraged others to join her in the struggle against nuclear weapons. She will be sorely missed by those who strive for nuclear disarmament."

Louise Robertson, from Balloch, a well known member of CND and Woman's Aid, said: "Margaret was a peace activist, a poet and an inspiration to many. She was always full of hope and optimism and only ever spoke well of people. She devoted her life to peace and she will always be remembered with a smile."

The Harrisons had two daughters, Ruth and Anne, five grandchildren, Sarah, Rachael, Ewan, Douglas and Callum, and six great grandchildren, James. Patrick, Sean, Lachlan, Loic and Taylor, and Margaret is survived by them.