In Memory of Nell Sampson
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Maybole lost a very special person and one of its best known characters last week when Nell Samson died after a short illness. Nell, who was 97 and lived in Crosne Street, was born in Townhead, Glasgow on 13th April 1911. She came to Maybole in 1971, from New Zealand where she had lived for a time due to her husband's poor health.

In New Zealand, there had been lots of very successful Charity Shops and when Nell and her daughter, Jean Falconer, noticed an empty shop in School Vennel, last occupied by the local coal merchant , they thought they could fill it with second hand clothes. Jean's size was fluctuating a bit at the time, and Nell had lost a lot of weight in New Zealand. She also had lots of summer dresses she would probably have less use for in the colder climate of Scotland.

They decided to ask Campbell Morrison in the local Town Councilís rent office about leasing the shop which they got for £1 per week. They thought they would take the shop for two weeks and get rid of all the surplus clothes. Some friends brought along clothes which were taken on a sale or return basis.

The shop became very popular and Nell and Jean kept it going for two years when they were told the buildings were about to be demolished. They then bought the shop in the High Street, where the video shop is today, beside the crossing. By this time the shop, called "Wise Buys" was an outfitters, selling new clothes from babies to gents.

When Maybole Community Council was created in 1977, both Nell and Jean were founder members. Nell was also in the Community Association for many a long year, but gave up both organisations after Jean died. She was a member of "Opportunities In Retirement" in the town and was Treasurer for ten years; she also sang in the O.I.R. choir.

She was chairperson of the Crosne Street Residents Association for many years running bingos, fish and chip nights and other social events. She was a member of the "Cabin" and went to the Baptist Church Hall for lunch every Friday when she was fit. Nell used to knit slippers for charity, but after losing the sight of one eye, she was unable to do so any more. She enjoyed doing that and must have knitted hundreds of slippers which she sold and sent the money to the Children's Hospice Association of Scotland. She was also a supporter of the Ayrshire Hospice and was involved with various events to raise funds for the hospice and other charities along with fellow Crosne Street residents.

Last year, Nell presented a cheque for over £600 the Hospice Fundraiser, and said the residents had a great time raising the money especially when local minister Dave Whiteman appeared dressed as Goldilocks!  "How I would like to see him dressed like that in his pulpit," she added. Nell wrote poetry and loved her life in Crosne Street. Right up to her last days Nell was a very articulate and active member of the community.

In 1999 the Community Council held a very special evening to pay tribute to some very special people. Nell was one of those very special people who was awarded a Scroll of Appreciation to acknowledge the contribution they had made to the quality of life in Maybole. She was very proud of that and Nell had her scroll framed on her wall.

Nell was also very proud and happy that her daughter's name is commemorated in the town through the Jean Falconer Literary Award, which is presented annually. She felt it kept Jeanís memory fresh and for many years she faithfully presented the prizes despite her failing mobility.

In 2005 she felt that would be her last time due to her age and health but she was there this year at the great age of 97 to cut a birthday cake as it was 20 years since the competition started.

Nellís funeral service was conducted last Thursday August 14 by Rev Alastair Symington of Troon Old Parish Church. The coffin was draped with the Community Council flag and Peter Mason, chairman, paid tribute to Nell saying that she and Jean will live on in the memories of the people of Maybole.

He added, ďNell put her memories down on three tapes, one about the memories which she had of her son John since his birth in 1934 and one of memories of Jean, who was born in 1937. The other is a more recent one and holds very dear memories of her husband Seymour and daughter Jean both of whom died within a short time of each other. There are lots of anecdotes and stories on the tapes so letís hope we can share them soon.Ē

Follow the link below to view a page Nell wrote about herself for the website a few years before her death.

Mrs. Nell Samson