Isabel is a nat­u­ral-born helper

The Oban Times - - The Oban Times & West Highland Times - MON­ICA GIB­SON mgib­son@oban­

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.

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