The incredible story of how a north Glasgow community rallied to give Annie Wallace, 103, a moving send off ... strangers joined politicians, police officers, soldiers, firefighters and carers for 'forever young' Annie's funeral after plea by church minister
MORE than 100 strangers joined politicians, soldiers, firefighters and police officers at the funeral of a 103-year-old widow who died with no family.
Residents in Milton, Glasgow, defied icy conditions yesterday [January 18, 2017] to pay their respects to Annie Wallace after a plea by minister Rev Christopher Rowe.
In an incredible display of community spirit, the area’s four councillors joined police officers, firefighters, Annie’s carers and four soldiers of 32 Royal Signal regiment who acted as pallbearers.
Rev Rowe, who visited Annie at Ashgill Care Home hours before she died on December 23, told mourners at Colston Milton Parish Church: “Annie has always loved singing and I can say with confidence that she was still singing the day that she died, and I rather suspect there was not a day in the last 100 years when she didn't sing.
“She told me how she was singing in the church choir, and the choir master was telling them to roll their ‘rrrrs’, she laughed out loud as she said, 'I thought he said roll your arse', and she duly obliged!
“Annie was 103 years old when she died, and I have no doubt that she is in heaven – forever young, forever her beautiful gentle, fun and positive character.”
Annie’s funeral would have been attended by a handful of people until Rev Rowe’s public appeal which prompted an overwhelming reaction.
He said: “It’s not about me, it’s about how people in the community are kind and good and willing to go the extra mile.
“Annie was an easy person to love, she was an absolute gem but most people here did not even know her. It’s Milton at its best.”
Also in attendance were SNP councillors Allan Gow and Jacqueline McLaren and Labour’s Robert Mooney and Gary Gray, while council chiefs supplied flowers.
Inspector Craig Walker of Maryhill police station, who sent two officers, said: “I think that it’s fantastic that the local community have come together to mark the life of Annie Wallace.”
During the service, a video of Annie was played. Then aged 95, she cracked jokes and told stories about her life, while speaking to a local arts project. When it ended, there was spontaneous outbreak of applause.
Milton community campaigner Alex O’Kane helped Rev Rowe spread the word.
He said: “It was humbling and inspiring to see so many strangers to turn up for Annie.”
Annie was born in nearby Possil in April 1914 and her tram driver dad James Minto volunteered for the Army that September, weeks after the outbreak of the First World War.
He survived the war and returned home but died when Annie was a child. She worked in shops throughout her life and was married but did not have children
Versions of this story appeared in The Herald, The Times, The Scotsman, Daily Mail, Scottish Sun and Evening Times on January 19, 2018