Tributes are made as Ishbel Thomson passes

Ishbel Thomson
Ishbel Thomson

There have been many tributes made to Ishbel Thomson who died on February 3 in St Andrews Hospice.

Ishbel was a well-loved teacher who taught at Knowetop Primary in Motherwell throughout the whole of her working life.

She was well known as the wife of the late John Thomson who had served as a Motherwell councillor for over 30 years.

He always said he could never have done the job with the help and support of Ishbel.

Ishbel was also a founding member, with her husband, of the Voluntary Association for Mental Welfare, an organisation which continues to serve the area.

Ishbel continued as a board member of VAMW after her husband’s death in 1996, and was chairperson at the time of her death.

Ishbel was also a person in her own right. She was a devoted wife and mother to her children Sharron, Allison and Roderick (known as Roddy) and later a loved and loving grandmother to five grandchildren.

Ishbel came originally from Newarthill and lived in Motherwell after her marriage.

She went into teaching the hard way, studying for Highers for entry to Hamilton College where she completed teacher training, all carried out while her children were small.

In fact she began teaching at Knowetop Primary on the same day that her youngest child Roddy started school.

She was a popular and respected teacher as was shown by the many tributes and messages sent to her family from former teaching colleagues and pupils.

Ishbel was a committed member of St Mary’s Church in Motherwell, she started a coffee afternoon in VAMW and was involved in many associated activities.

If volunteers were needed for a project, Ishbel’s hand was among the first to be raised.

She was also known for her quick wit and sense of humour, someone who was considered good company.

She loved art and produced many quality paintings and drawings.

She also enjoyed Scottish country dancing and carried this talent with her to Spain where she joined a dancing club near the family holiday flat.

After her husband died she continued to work to help others and she enjoyed holidays abroad, visiting Australia and Monte Carlo among many other places.

Ishbel enjoyed life to the full and considered her illness a nuisance as it restricted her in the things she wanted to do.

She lost her hair during chemotherapy treatment and was pleased that it grew in black with few grey hairs to show.

Ian Livingstone was a colleague of Ishbel on VAMW.

He said: “Ishbel led VAMW with great skill and expertise after the death of her husband. She was ideal for the task, caring and interested in the wellbeing of all those in her care.”

Councillor Jim McCabe, Leader of North Lanarkshire Council, said: “Ishbel was a great supporter of her husband when he served as a councillor, and we often shared time together at civic events.

“There was no political divide; she was a pleasant and friendly person with a good sense of humour.

“She has left a great legacy in VAMW and will be missed.”