THE SCOTSMAN Tuesday 5 April 2022

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Obituaries

PICTURES: GETTY

NOW
& THEN

Dr Marie Weir

PE teacher who guided Scotland’s women’s hockey squad to a famous victory

Dr Marie Weir, PE teacher and
hockey coach. Born: 3 June
1926 in Chapelbank, Findo
Gask, Perthshire. Died: 27
February 2022 in Kinross,
aged 95

D

r M a r i e We i r
sought to make
every day meaningful. The saying goes “you
get back what you give” and if
true, her generosity and love
meant she saw both returned
in abundance.
In her company, family,
friends and students always
felt listened to and that she
was their personal cheerleader, encouraging each one to
believe in themselves. Marie’s
family members always had
the surety that whatever they
did,shewouldbeasecure,loving, safe presence, a loyal confidante and friend.
Marie was a “doer”. She had
abilities in abundance. Imagination, courage, drive and
determination which, together with her resilience, meant
that whatever she put her
mind to, she would strive to
succeed. These abilities were
encouraged by her husband
DouglasWeir,whomshemarried in 1951. They were a great
team, bringing out the best in
each other.
Marie broke new ground
following her passions. She
was appointed the first International Coach for the Scottish Women’s Hockey Squad
in 1971. A keen Dunfermline
footballsupporter,Mariethen
revolutionisedScottishWomen’s Hockey by pioneering the
application of football tactics
to the hockey field.
She demanded 100 per
cent of her Scottish Women
and Schoolgirl squads. Her
fair but tough approach, not
alwayspopularwiththehockey Establishment, was vindicatedwithahistoricfirstScottish win in more than 39 years
over the home side at Wembley in March 1972.
Always seeking so cial
improvements, she became
the first Vice Chair of Fife’s
Children’s Panel, later being
amongstthefirsttodeliverthe
new Marriage Guidance Service.Next,shebecamethefirst
salariedStudentCounsellorin
a Scottish Higher Education
institution.Herphilosophy,to
keep learning and to do your
best to make a positive difference in in the world, were cornerstones of her life.
Marie was christened Lilias
Mary Watson Smith, born to
Joseph Smart Smith, a farm-

0Billy Smart opened his first circus today in 1946; in 1966
Joan Crawford is dwarfed by a co-star as she films Berserk
5 APRIL

1603: King James VI left Scot-

0Teacher, hockey coach, author – Dr Marie Weir was one of life’s ‘doers’
er, and Lilias Jaffrey Walker,
a PE teacher. Marie’s brother
Andrew was born three years
later, and the family was complete. After an idyllic farming
life her father secured a job
with Sutton Seeds in Reading
and the family was uprooted.
A chequered schooling followed, starting and ending
at Morrisons Academy, Crieff, when her father returned
to work for SAI. In Reading,
Marie started at Malvern
HouseSchoolbutsoonmoved
to the Abbey School for Girls
where she excelled at hockey,
playing for the school team
and the Scarlet Runners aged
13. Returning to Crieff she was
disappointed to be put back a
year as it was felt that the English education system was
inferior to that of Scotland.
Hockey and friendships provided a stable thread of support through these times.
There became no question
that she would become a PE
teacher.ShetrainedatBedford
College where she became
known as Marie JaffreySmith to distinguish her from
another student. She would
be known as this through her
hockey playing years and for
the Scottish team.
An early Scottish success
was the reward of a bronze
medal at the first post-war
IFWH World Conference in

Holland in 1948, followed by
a three-month tour to South
Africa travelling by ship and
train in 1950.
Marie’sfirstteachingjobwas
at St Leonards School in St
Andrews. She was required to
undertake a written list of daily tasks, many of which were
outside,whatevertheweather.
A lecturing post at Dunfermline College of Physical
Education quickly followed
and it was here that she met
Douglas.
Marie was a talented and
published author including books on hockey (Women’s Hockey For The ‘70s and
Hockey Coaching: A PsychologicalApproachtotheWomen’s Game) and history (Ferries in Scotland). She also
wroteshortstoriesforthePeople’s Friend magazine and for
tenyearswroteaweeklyHockey column for The Scotsman.
Followingastrokeshedocumentedherlifeinafinalbook,
The Times of my Life, which
gives a unique insight into her
experiencesfromchildhoodto
the age of 90. Despite becoming registered blind Marie
always had a pen in her hand
and the “next story” project in
her head. Her favourite places
to write were St Andrews, the
Isle of Arran and her haven,
the study. She balanced raisingafamilyoffivewithcharity

activitiesincludingBarnardo’s
andtheFreedomfromHunger
Campaign, work as a teacher
and lecturer, as a writer and
with academic study. Marie
achieved her MPhil (Counselling)thenPhD(History),graduating in 1988, aged 62, from
the University of Edinburgh,
in the shortest time permitted
by the University.
Marie inspired self confidence in others. Her mantra
of “you can, and you will” was
repeated often in numerous
family and coaching situations. As a committed Christian, she was compassionate
and kind. Marie made lifelong friends beginning on her
firstdayatprimaryschooland
added new ones all the way
to her final weeks. Joy Tiley
ensured ongoing support to
allheracademicactivitiesand
was a steadfast friend.
Marie is survived by Sally,
Lindsay, Shona, Jaffrey, her
nephew Grant and their families
Always forward looking
it was fitting that the hymn
Marie chose as her last was
“OneMoreStepalongtheWay
we go”. Marie wrote: “There is
time for much more in your
life than you think possible.
When one door shuts another door really does open. Just
embrace it.”

THE WEIR FAMILY

land for his new kingdom of
England.
1614: The Addled Parliament
began – and was dissolved on 7
June without having passed a
bill – hence its name.
1793: Plan for the building of
the Capitol, Washington DC, was
accepted.
1874: Première of Johann
Strauss’s opera Die Fledermaus
in Vienna.
1881: Britain concluded Treaty
of Pretoria with Boers, recognising independence of South African Republic of Transvaal.
1902: The stand at Ibrox Park
stadium in Glasgow collapsed
during an England versus Scotland match, killing 20 spectators
and injuring more than 200.
1910: Kissing was banned on
French railways.
1916: Military Medal introduced
in the First World War for forces
fighting on Western Front.
1939: All German children
between ages of ten and 13 were
ordered to serve in Hitler Youth
Organisation.
1946: Billy Smart opened his
first circus.
1955: Sir Winston Churchill resigned as prime minister,
aged 80.
1966: Corporation tax brought
into force by Harold Wilson’s
Labour government.
1968: Cunard liner Queen Elizabeth was sold to an American
syndicate for $3,230,000.
1969: Four-man British expedition reached the North Pole after
a 14-month, 1,300-mile trek by
dog sled.
1971: Fran Phipps became the
first woman to reach the North
Pole.
1976: James Callaghan succeeded Harold Wilson as
Labour prime minister, defeating Michael Foot in the final ballot for leadership of the Labour
Party.
1986: A bomb, blamed on terrorists, killed two and injured 155
at crowded West Berlin discotheque popular with American
soldiers.
1988: Arabic-speaking hijackers
commandeered Kuwaiti Airways
plane with 112 people aboard and
forced it to land in Iran.
1989: The lighthouse at Fastnet,
off County Cork, was computerised, ending almost 150 years of
human habitation.
1990: King Baudouin I resumed
the Belgian throne after a
36-hour abdication rather than
sign a law legalising abortion.

1991: In Manchester, terrorists

planted 12 firebombs in the city’s
main shopping precinct.1997:
IRA bomb threats stopped the
Grand National and 70,000
spectators were evacuated from
Aintree. The race was run two
days later.
2004: The Sunday Post’s comic
section character Oor Wullie
was named Scotland’s top icon,
ahead of William Wallace and Sir
Sean Connery.
2009: North Korea launched
its controversial Kwangmyongsong-2 rocket. The satellite
passed over mainland Japan,
which prompted an immediate
reaction from the United Nations
Security Council.
2010: 115 Chinese miners who
had been trapped in the flooded Wangjialing mine in Shanxi
province for more than a week
were rescued and brought to the
surface.

BIRTHDAYS

JANE ASHER
British actress
and writer, 76
Hayley Atwell, British-American
actress (Captain America:
The First Avenger), 40; Allan
Clarke, British rock singer and
songwriter (The Hollies), 80;
Roger Corman, American film
producer (The Fall of he House
of Usher), 95; Agnetha Fältskog,
Swedish singer (Abba), 72;
Richard Gough, footballer, 60;
Krishnan Guru-Murthy, British
television presenter (Channel 4
News), 52; John Hartson, Welsh
footballer, 47; Michael Moriarty,
American-Canadian actor (Law
& Order), 81; Pharrell (Williams),
American singer, music producer
and fashion designer, 49; Stan
Ridgway, American singer, 68.

ANNIVERSARIES

Births: 1827 Lord Lister, pioneer
of antiseptics in surgery; 1900
Spencer Tracy, US film actor;
1908 Bette Davis, US actress;
1909 Albert Broccoli, producer;
1916 Gregory Peck, film actor;
1920 Arthur Hailey, novelist;
1929 Sir Nigel Hawthorne, actor.
Deaths: 1976 Howard Hughes,
industrialist; 1984 Sir Arthur
Harris, former chief of Bomber
Command; 1997 Allen Ginsberg,
poet; 1998 Cozy Powell, drummer; 2006 Gene Pitney, singer;
2008 Charlton Heston, actor;
2018 Eric Bristow MBE, British
darts player.