Trib­ute paid to Ca­tri­ona Pater­son


CA­TRI­ONA Mary Pater­son, well known and much loved in both her na­tive Greenock and her an­ces­tral home of Jura, died peace­fully in the early hours of New Year’s Day.

Ca­tri­ona was the youngest and last sur­viv­ing daugh­ter of Greenock mas­ter mariner Ge­orge Pater­son and Dhi­u­rach Mary Black or Shaw. She was born and lived her life in Greenock, fol­low­ing her mother and sis­ters into teach­ing which saw her reach as­sis­tant head teacher at Greenock High School.

As well as teach­ing maths, when ‘choice ac­tiv­i­ties’ came round in the sum­mer term each year she opted to teach boys to cook, with great suc­cess. Even years af­ter her re­tire­ment, it was dif­fi­cult to walk along the es­planade in Greenock with­out bump­ing into a for­mer pupil with, usu­ally, fond mem­o­ries of Miss Pater­son.

Ca­tri­ona and her sis­ters main­tained close ties with Jura, spend­ing each sum­mer with their mother and joined by their fa­ther when his puffer Nar­whal had cargo for the is­lands. Al­though he was from Greenock, he would have felt at home in the cot­tage at Caigen­houses, a ham­let that pro­duced no fewer than four mas­ter mariners.

Ca­tri­ona con­tin­ued to visit Jura un­til quite re­cently and to take an ac­tive part in is­land life. As well as her sport­ing achieve­ments in the re­gatta, where she won a row­ing cup out­right with Archie Black, and took her turn as com­modore, she com­peted (walk­ing) in the in­au­gu­ral 10K and re­ceived a com­mem­o­ra­tive walk­ing stick as the old­est com­peti­tor.

Draw­ing from her mother’s Jura roots, Ca­tri­ona was a life­long Gaelic learner and singer. She sang in Greenock Gaelic Choir for most of her life, some­times as a soloist, and was elated when she gained the cov­eted Green Card for pro­fi­ciency for the com­pe­ti­tions at the an­nual Mòd, where she and her sis­ter Elsie com­peted in duet and quar­tet classes as well as with the choir.

The love of the lan­guage and mu­sic never left her and even at the end of her life she was able to quote verses from mem­ory and com­ment on the dif­fer­ences in pro­nun­ci­a­tion be­tween the is­lands.

Ca­tri­ona be­longed to the Glas­gow Jura As­so­ci­a­tion and al­ways en­joyed their an­nual gath­er­ing, where a dish some­times on of­fer was salt her­ring, a sta­ple food in ear­lier times on the is­land. She had a deep re­spect for her is­land an­ces­tors, whose lives were hard. She hated waste and was her­self fru­gal. Dis­ap­prov­ing of time wasted, she usu­ally knit­ted while watch­ing TV.

A keen mem­ber of the Na­tional Trust for Scot­land, Ca­tri­ona spent a mem­o­rable sum­mer on St Kilda with her sis­ter Elsie help­ing to re­store some of the build­ings, in­clud­ing the church. Their group in­cluded a well-known Gaelic singer, so af­ter work there were great ceilidhs.

In her re­tire­ment, Ca­tri­ona was an ac­tive sup­porter of good causes, de­liv­er­ing meals on wheels, hos­pi­tal driv­ing and bak­ing for a weekly café in aid of the Ard­gowan Hospice.

Her death brings to an end the generation of Pater­son girls in Jura, but their love of the is­land has been passed down to the next generation, who hope to con­tinue the con­nec­tion.

Ca­tri­ona Pater­son, sec­ond row fourth from left, in Greenock Gaelic Choir.

The three Pater­son sis­ters, left to right, Flora, Ca­tri­ona and Elsie, on the pier at Jura in the 1930s.

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