Nurse Ruadh, Annie Maclean

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Annie Maclean, Nurse Ruadh, was born to 12 Crowlista in 1872 and served as district nurse in Uig before taking up the post in Tarbert, where she worked until her death in 1940, and was much loved.  The following is from the Stornoway Gazette:

It was with deep regret that we learned of the death at Tarbert, Harris, of Annie Maclean, known in Uig and Harris as the Nurse Ruadh.  Born at Crowlista 68 years ago, the youngest daughter of the late Mr and Mrs Peter Maclean, she entered the nursing profession and in due course qualified to take up duties as a district nurse.  About 1906 she was appointed district nurse for West Uig, and at that time, and for many years after, this district comprised all the territory west of a line between Kinlochroad and Ard Bheag.  It was indeed a very difficult district, when roads were bad and almost the only means of travel was on foot.  To many villages there were no roads at all, a condition which greatly added to the difficulties of promptly attenting to those in need.  Nevertheless, Nurse Maclean was ready in all weathers and at all hours of the day or night to do her utmost in alleviating every case of sickness or pain to which she was called. [Annie is the overworked nurse mentioned by Dr Ross in his Dewar Commission testimony in 1912.]

She had a most cheerful disposition and this virtue was in very many cases of greater value to the patient than the doctor’s prescription.  She was always happy and cracked jokes which drew, temporarily at least, the patient’s thoughts from his or her own suffering.

In 1915 she took up duties at Tarbert, where the geographical difficulties confronting her were even more formidable than at Uig.  Here, again, by her unusual characteristics and willingness to help, she greatly endeared herself to the inhabitants of her district.  She took great pleasure in her work and despite advancing years remained tireless and active.  She worked under Dr Ross for the long period of thirty-three years, which we feel is a record.  Her death, attributed to a bad fall received early in September, is mourned by a very wide circle of friends in Uig, Harris and elsewhere, who feel the poor for her passing, and the sympathy of Uig and Harris goes out to her surviving brothers and sister.

The Harris Nursing Committee wrote in sympathy:

6 February 1940

John Maclean
12 Crowlista
Uig, Lewis

Dear Mr Maclean

At a recent Meeting of the Harris Nursing Committee, sympathetic reference was made to the death of the late Nurse Maclean, your sister, who for nearly a quarter of a centruy served the Committee as District Nurse at Tarbert. It was agreed to record in the Minutes the deep regret of the members, and their great sense of loss in the deat of so faithful and efficient a nurse. The Committee being conscious of the unique place Nurse Maclean had in the affection of the people she served, agreed to take steps to have expression given to the people’s appreciation of her services and their personal attachment to her by raising over her grave a memorial to her in the form of a gravestone. I am therefore instructed to ask if you or her other relatives have any objection to this cause. There will be no difficult in meeting the cost of this memorial which will be met by the willing subscriptions from these whom she served as well. In your reply will you kindly inform me who is responsible for winding up her estate in order that the salary due to her at her death may be paid into it.

Let me express to you and all the relatives the deep sympathy of the members including myself in your sore bereavement.

With kind regards
Yours sincerely
John Macleod
Int. Clerk

One of Annie’s brothers was Hector, who died in the Transvaal in 1902.