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
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