Sally Beaumont /Scotland
Fiona Buchanan, Co-Presidentin schrieb
Sally Beaumont has died peacefully at home, aged 87.
She was a determined individual, feisty, mischievous, a disrupter and a champion of the disenfranchised, inspirational to many, usually through her preferred method of storytelling. She delighted in giving but was also a gracious recipient of kindness and hospitality.
Her early experiences coloured her attitudes to the destitute and to institutions. She was born in England in 1935, the youngest of four, and early in the war her father, a serving colonel, arranged for the family to be evacuated to Vancouver Island. Not anticipating that exchange restrictions would leave them penniless, they became reliant on handouts from the local community. Back in England, she hated boarding school but escaped to university at St Andrews, where she met Jack in fresher’s week, soon telling her mother that she’d just met her future husband (“don't worry, he doesn't know yet”). They married in 1957 and were known as an inseparable couple throughout their years together.
Adventures before Jack’s ordination included teaching in Edinburgh, study for Jack at Tübingen, where Sally taught English to refugees from East Germany, and travel to the Middle East. She joined CND in the late 1950s and had a lifelong commitment to activism.
From 1960 theirs was a missionary or manse life: they had four years at Loudon in Malawi, where she had her younger son, (“we had no running water, no electricity. But the Malawians coped and we learned to live like they did. There were no shops, no telephones”). Then followed eight years in Penicuik and nineteen in Bishopbriggs. Having turned her hand to helping at baby clinics in Africa, she went back to teaching in Scotland, refusing a head teacher’s offer of a choice from his collection of lochgellys, preferring instead to hold hands with miscreants (“please miss, can I not just get the belt?”). This would take her to a co-ordinator role with multicultural education in Glasgow, a job she loved.
Jack’s strokes in the early 1990s meant they settled to a comparatively quiet life in Edinburgh until his death in 1998. Her heart bypass and valve replacement the following year spurred a new wave of commitment to causes of peace and justice, joining demonstrations at the Scottish Parliament and Faslane, with Trident Ploughshares, becoming secretary of Edinburgh Churches Together, serving with the Ecumenical Forum of European Christian Women and becoming a full member of the Iona Community, a major part of her life. Following one of her several arrests, she shared a holding cell with MSPs (“I don’t consider it breaking the law. I have put in a request that the PM be arrested, because it's him breaking the law.”).
She was often on Iona, at Community week or volunteering at the Mac, and travelled several times to eastern Europe with the Lydia Project to help create links back to their homes for trafficked women (always stubborn, she saved one companion’s life in a subsequent accident in Romania after having refused to travel until all seat belts were fastened).
She moved to a flat in Glasgow in 2007, where she opened up her home to asylum seekers and to regular visitors from the Iona Community and peace movements as well as the families of her three children and eight grandchildren. She remained very active with the Iona Community, raising funds by persuading a well-known Scottish artist to donate a painting, which was then leased to donors at £1,000 a year, for a decade (though it graced her walls first).
In Glasgow she became active as an elder at Wellington Church, with Positive Action in Housing, the refugee night shelter at Anderston and spent many hours attending hearings or writing on her laptop in support of asylum claims. She also found time for book groups, enjoyed tennis into her late 70s and was always happy to play or teach bridge.
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