Born: May 7, 1914;

Died: May 25, 2020.

RIGHT up until the end of her long life, Mary McLullich could remember the day when the Great War finally came to an end.

“It was my brother’s birthday”, she told the Argyllshire Advertiser two years ago, “and we were waiting for him to come home from school. It was him who said the war was over. At first we didn’t believe him, but it was true”.

Mary herself had been born just a few months before the outbreak of war; and her own life would coincide with no fewer than 21 Prime Ministers occupying Number 10, beginning with H.H. Asquith.

Asked that perennial question – what is the secret of a long life? – she told the Argyllshire paper: “Moderation in all things. Apart from sweeties”.

In May 2014 she reached her centenary and her family threw a party at the village hall at Tayvallich, near Lochgilphead.

“I just don’t feel a grand age”, she told a Herald reporter just prior to the celebration. “I’m still thinking I’ve got friends that are maybe 80 and so on, and I’m thinking I’m just the same age as that”.

She said that “most of the village will probably come in at some point”. One friend was coming from Preston, another from Skye, a third from Portsoy. The article revealed that she had been buying the Herald for 65 years and was a fan of the Codeword puzzle.

Mary McKechan Dickson born on May 7, 1914, the second of five children, in Stoneyhill Cottage on the Duke of Hamilton’s estate near Strathaven, where her father was the shepherd to a tenant farmer.

When she was three years old the family moved to Brockieside, off the Tak’ Ma Doon Road, Kilsyth, her father having found work as a shepherd at Allanfauld Farm.

When she was older, she would routinely walk two miles to Kilsyth Academy and back, sometimes in deep snow in winter. She excelled at maths, her favourite subject, and was also keen on history.

She left school at 14 and worked in a Kilsyth grocer’s shop and then as a maid in Glasgow.

In 1932, aged 18, she moved to Tayvallich to work for Mrs Guy, widow of the late Edinburgh Sheriff Guy, at Carsaig House, where she remained for a year. She then worked for the Pease family, who had just purchased Taynish Estate.

By 1937 Mary had saved enough money to realise her ambition to go to Glasgow’s “Dough School” – the Glasgow and West of Scotland College of Domestic Science. There she did a six-month institutional cookery course and afterwards put her her new-found skills to use at Boscombe Hospital, near Bournemouth.

Back in Scotland, she was employed in hospitals in Coatbridge and Stirling before returning to Brockieside, and became part of the local school-meals unit.

Mary had met Duncan McLullich while in Tayvallich and since leaving the village they had written regularly to each other. The couple were eventually married in Glasgow’s St Vincent Street church in December 1946, and they lived at An Corran, Tayvallich, Duncan’s family home. He had gone back with his sister Chrissie to help his parents, who in late middle-age had taken the tenancy at Scotnish farm.

In the summer of 1950, however, Mary, heavily pregnant, returned to her own family home, Brockieside; that August she gave birth to twins Anne and Christine at Airthrey Castle, Bridge of Allan, which was then a maternity hospital.

A son, Alan, followed in August 1956.

Mary started to supplement the family’s income by taking in summer boarders, and as a result lifelong friendships were formed. The couple also turned part of the old village hall into a summerhouse and workshop in An Corran’s back garden.

Between 1957 and 1971 Mary would move the family out of An Corran and into the summerhouse between June and September in order to let out An Corran to various families.

From 1966 to 1972 she worked in a local shop: she adored taking orders for knitted sweaters and baby shawls, and contacting knitters in the north of Scotland. The shop was open during the summer months and one day a week in the winter.

In 1974 Scotnish Estate was sold and Duncan and his sister retired. Duncan himself passed away in 2012, just three days before his 99th birthday.

Mary was very fond of Scrabble and crosswords, which she believed kept her brain sharp. She was known in the village as something of an oracle, and had remarkable recall going back to at least the 1930s.

She was a great cook and baker, and was good at knitting and sewing; together with Duncan she made complicated frilly dresses for her daughters to wear during the 1953 Coronation celebrations.

She was a member of the Tayvallich Amateur Drama Club and Tayvallich Church of Scotland. She was a very keen dancer, having started at the age of ten and, when older, attending dances in Denny, Carronbridge and Fintry, often on the pillion of her brother Archie’s motor-bike.

She had four grand-daughters: Sarah, Claire, Beth and Jane, a grandson, Duncan, and three great-grandchildren, Thomas, Mary and Lucy. A fourth is on the way.

She had continued to live at An Corran, her home for 74 years, until February this year; she died in Glenafton care home, in Glasgow.