Isabel is a natural-born helper
A WIDOW who has no children of her own has been fundraising and donating clothes for babies because it’s ‘ what she’s always wanted to do’.
Isabel MacPhee, 72, is a keen knitter and an active community member from Caol who has previously helped young families by providing comfort packages and even pledged to keep a family’s triplets in nappies for a year.
Recently, Mrs MacPhee has been influential in getting cuddle cots installed in the local hospital and funeral parlours to help families come to terms with losing children at birth.
She told The Oban Times: ‘At the moment I am getting involved with the cuddle cots at the hospital and the undertaker to help families who have been through tough times.
‘It’s not much but I think it can help some people.
‘And in September I will be going out with my hamper and selling tickets for St John’s church.
‘It’s not my church but I do it every year for Father Roddy. I try to raise about £ 500 towards their ceilidh, which is something many folk around here look forward to.’
Mrs MacPhee added: ‘The hamper is filled with some baked bits and lots of lovely things – and a nice bottle of malt. I put nice ribbons around it and then sell tickets.
‘I get a lot of support from people in the area and, you know, I don’t think there’s anyone who has let me down when it comes to donations.’
Mrs MacPhee’s enjoyment of being part of the community has been reflected in the jobs she has taken.
She worked as a ‘clippy’ on the MacBrayne’s buses and on the checkout in Safeway for 13 years, but even then she knew how she wanted to keep herself busy after her last shift.
She said: ‘I just always wanted to help people.
‘I don’t have a family myself and so I always said when I was retired I would fundraise and I would try to help this one and that one, and that’s what I’ve done. It keeps me out and about rather than sitting about the house.
‘I sponsored the triplets before and now I have twins who live nearby who are about 15 months old and I enjoy knitting wee bits and dropping nappies and stuff into the grannies – just to help out.’
Apart from knitting, fundraising, sponsoring families and helping the local community, Mrs MacPhee enjoys listening to the radio in her free time.
She said: ‘I put Morag on the radio every morning. I don’t have much Gaelic but I enjoy listening to it and I have my music playing and that keeps me in good spirits.’
Isabel MacPhee, standing, also helps with the lunch club at the Caol Community Centre, where up to 30 people enjoy hot meals on weekdays.