An exceptional role model for Fraserburgh

Betty McDonald was an unpretentious and capable woman with a determined character and  infamous attention to detail
Betty McDonald was an unpretentious and capable woman with a determined character and infamous attention to detail

After a lifetime of selfless giving, Fraserburgh community stalwart, Betty McDonald, passed away recently aged 89.

A founder member of Fraserburgh Junior Arts Society and co-organiser of the 1992 Fraserburgh 400 Pageant, Betty’s 50 years of continuous community and voluntary service to Fraserburgh has been exceptional.

In 2003 her outstanding services to others was officially recognised when Betty represented Banff and Buchan at Edinburgh Castle as one Scotland’s ‘Unsung Heroines’ to mark International Women’s Day.

An unpretentious and capable woman with a determined character and infamous attention for detail, Betty had the ability to unite diverse social groups and put ‘magic’ into folks’ lives through song and innovative pageantry.

She has left a living legacy of talented folk who continue to provide enjoyment for others, and excite and inspire the next generation.

As an accomplished pianist she, together with her late husband David, established Fraserburgh Youth Choir and competed at Aberdeen Music Festival for 20 years with much success.

In 1994 the husband and wife team founded the female vocal group Musicale presenting two highly popular charity concerts each year raising significant funds for local charities.

From the late 1940s until 1990, Betty, a mother of five, shared her precious time with her ‘other family’ the Girl Guides Association. Joining as a young guide aged 14, Betty went on to become Captain of the 5th Fraserburgh Girl Guides.

Towards the end of her half-century of service, Betty was proud to accept the position of Area Commissioner for Buchan, Aberdeenshire.

Around that time she was also presented with her Long Service Certificate from Fraserburgh South Parish Church for 56 years unbroken attendance as a choir member.

In 1951 Betty together with a small group of musical enthusiasts formed Fraserburgh Junior Arts Society (F.J.A.S.).

Now in its 68th year, Betty’s foresight, vision and dedication contributed in no small measure to this voluntary organisation which continues to grow in strength.

At a public meeting in 1989 a committee was set up to plan the Fraserburgh 400 Birthday Celebration Year. Leading up to the celebrations Betty played a major, but largely unsung, role during the many months of preparation.

Betty’s ‘reward’ was to meet (and lunch) with Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness, Prince Philip, having firstly ensured a Mini-Pageant (prepared for Her Majesty) was timed to perfection.

In the new millennium, aged 71, she continued her lifetime work with children and youth. In 2000, at the Millennium Dome, London, more than 200 communities throughout the UK showcased their town with song and dance.

The Aberdeenshire Show, involving 76 children, aged eight to 16 years, was co-produced by Betty and performed by the FJAS, a fitting finale to a lifetime of outstanding dedicated service to the community of Fraserburgh.

A thanksgiving service will be held in Fraserburgh South Parish Church next month.