has lost a highly regarded figure with the death of Nan Carmichael at the
age of 90. She was perhaps better known as Nan Bennett who was elected to
Maybole Town Council as a Labour councillor in the 1960s, and she went on
to become one of the council's Bailies and a Justice of the Peace. Along
with the Provost, bailies were the traditional magistrates of a burgh, and
the title goes back centuries.
Just before the town council
was scrapped in 1975, Nan became a founder member of Maybole Community
Association recognising that there was a need to have local people
involved in local affairs. She was also a founder member of Maybole
Community Council when it was formed in 1977.
That was the year the she was
chosen as Maybole’s Citizen
of the Year, a mark of the high esteem the people of the town held her
in. She was also interested in the town’s history and sat on the committee
that compiled a pictorial history of Maybole, which was published by the
Community Council in 1982.
Born Nan Fielding in October
1911, she was the eldest of a family of 5 children and became a good
pianist. Her father would take Nan on the handlebars of his bike from
their home in Drongan to Ayr station where she took the train to
Kilmarnock for her piano lessons.
Nan died peacefully on Tuesday June 28, 2002 and at her funeral on
Saturday Rev Richard Martin said, "Her children remember sing-songs around
the piano with Mum – and they remember her cooking, good wholesome fare
but memorable. New Year’s Days Menu remains a vivid memory. Mum’s lentil
soup, her steak & kidney pie (with sausage) and her trifle.
Maybole also enjoyed her cooking as for several years she baked cakes and
fancies at The Dairy that traded on the corner of School Vennel. And that
is not all Nan - was well known in the community. A lifelong member of the
Labour Party, Nan served as one of the first women town councillors, a
Bailie and then a JP. She was also a founder member of the Community
Council. She was always championing the cause of people with needs – and
if Nan was on your case you usually won!"
"Nan outlived her first husband of nearly 50 years, Jim Bennett, and it
was in the course of her public duties, visiting Maybole’s exchange
partner town, Crosne, in France, that she met the man who was to become
her second husband, John Carmichael. They were together for eight years
before he died."
Crosne was in 1982 for the official signing ceremony of the twinning
agreement between Maybole and its French twin. Nan’s interest in town
twinning went back long before that, however, as in the early 70s she
attended various conferences about it on behalf of the Town Council
although they did not follow it up at that time.
Martin added that Nan had become a member of Maybole Baptist Church by
transfer on September 14th 1954. "She attended church regularly
and the children came to the Sunday School, where their mother played the
piano. Nan continued a member here until her death on Tuesday." (
Rev. Richard Martin - Saying Goodbye ).
service Maybole Community Council chairman David Kiltie said: "From first
knowing her in 1969 it was obvious she cared - passionately. She cared for
the town, she cared for its people and she worked hard on their behalf."
"We have a deep appreciation of all she has done for the town - it has
been a remarkable life of service. No doubt there would have been
sacrifices in her family life and we offer our appreciation to her family,
too. She was a special person and you all have our sympathies and