Dunning's History Now - July 2003
The Last Last Rites
What is believed to be the final burial to be allowed in St. Serf's kirkyard, Dunning, took place the rainy afternoon of 1st July 2003.
Mary Dougall was just a few days short of her 96th birthday. Most of her life she had lived at Old Bank House, the Lower Granco, from where her father Aeneas had operated a building and joinery business. She was born July 5, 1907, and died June 25, 2003, at the nursing home in Auchterarder to which she had moved a few years ago.
The funeral service, conducted by the Rev. Linda Rice, was held in Dunning Village Hall, appropriately a place where for years Mary with her great friend Chrissie Smith had sung in many concerts and operettas. Aunty Mary, as she known to many, had worked in the offices of coal merchants in Perth. When she retired, life didn't slow down but speeded up for her: she took a driving test and bought a car.
Another memory recalled was Mary's love of dogs, first Rusty and then Ben in whose company she would walk the fields around Dunning, as she said 'maintaining the right of way'. She was also a dedicated gardener. And to the end, the Rev. Rice remembered, Mary delighted in the indulgence of having her nails painted, often by nieces Morna and Eileen, and always in a color appropriate to what she was wearing.
The belief in Dunning for several years has been that the only people still entitled to be buried in St. Serf's otherwise closed kirkyard were unmarried descendants in whose family plots there was still available space. Mary Dougall is thought to be the last who so qualified.
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