Tributes paid to Clitheroe community stalwart Gillian

Dr David McKinlay with his late wife Gillian.
Dr David McKinlay with his late wife Gillian.
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Tributes have been paid to a grandmother-of-nine with a keen interest in fashion who had a great sense of public duty.

Mrs Gillian McKinlay moved to Clitheroe from the North East with her husband Dr David McKinlay in August 1973.

Gillian and David McKinlay with Sophie, their Scottish Deerhound and its nine puppies.

Gillian and David McKinlay with Sophie, their Scottish Deerhound and its nine puppies.

The couple were subsequently featured in the Clitheroe Advertiser as Gillian, who was five months pregnant at the time with the couple’s eldest son James, also had to look after the couple’s Scottish Deerhound Sophie who had just had nine puppies.

A fashion buyer in Fenwicks of Newcastle with a lifelong interest in fashion, Gillian, in those less enlightened days, was told her career was over when she became engaged to David.

Dr McKinlay recalled: “The chairman of Fenwicks told her ‘Gillian, doctors’ wives don’t work’.”

She later became wardrobe mistress for the Clitheroe Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society and the Mary Waddington Dance School – now Ribble Valley Dance.

Gillian’s mother had instilled a great sense of public duty in her daughter and Gillian delivered meals on wheels before she and David relocated to Clitheroe from the North East.

In Clitheroe she was Guide leader, a governor at Pendle Junior School, parish church counsellor, a member of St Mary’s Centre management committee, and active in the WRVS.

She featured in the Clitheroe Advertiser again in June 1977 as the mother of one of the three Jubilee babies born on June 7th, 1977, in the Ribble Valley – the only one born at Bramley Meade.

As a doctor’s wife in the days when doctors covered all out of hours care in an area of 200 square miles, Gillian had to prioritise urgency and give telephone reassurance at a time when she herself was a young and inexperienced mother.

Interested in genealogy and a skilled researcher, as a lifetime rebel and feminist Gillian was delighted to establish a family link to Emmeline Pankhurst.

A fantastic home and family builder, mother-of-three Gillian was often left holding the fort while her husband was busy with his activities in GP education and the RCGP.