A friend we won’t forget

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Everyone enjoys a time to reminisce. There’s nothing better than looking back at times when summers were longer and people were happier – or so we like to think.

Testament to this is the popularity of The Falkirk Herald’s nostalgia pages. The response to photographs and articles published can be immediate and from all over the world.

I never cease to be amazed at how people can recollect names from years gone by and nearly always have a tale to tell about those pictured.

However, I’ve often said it must be soul destroying if you open up the paper one day to see your class photograph from years ago featured ... and you are listed as ‘unknown’.

This week, I took a call from a caring uncle who wanted us to write an article about his niece who had died, aged only 50. It turns out she was a former pupil of Falkirk High and had gone on to be a renowned Scottish economist and university professor.

As we chatted and he gave me details, I did a quick online search on the computer and, when her photograph popped up, I could only gasp because this was someone I had known more than 30 years ago but completely lost touch with.

A friend of a friend, she was always the life and soul of the party.

As I read tributes to her from the great and the good, I found it hard to believe that the fun-loving girl I’d known had gone on to such academic heights and made such a contribution to society, particularly her fight for gender equality.

But one thing is for sure, Ailsa McKay will never be listed as unknown on an old school photograph.