Winifred Scott obituary

Other lives: Magistrate and prison visitor who was a keen gardener well into her 90s

My mother-in-law, Winifred Scott, who has died aged 103, devoted her life to her family, to her community and to growing excellent vegetables.

She was born in Claydon, Suffolk, the fourth of six children of Mary and Fred Morgan, the local butcher. Determined to escape the constraints of village life, she trained as a nurse at the Middlesex hospital in London before going to the British hospital in Paris, where she fell in love with a young Scottish doctor, Russell Scott.

After their wedding in 1936 they moved to Weymouth, Dorset, where Russell became a GP and Winifred worked as a sister at Portwey hospital. She became commandant of Weymouth Red Cross during the second world war. She and her baby daughter, Mary, were lucky to escape when their house was flattened by a direct hit from a bomb in 1940. As she lay under the rubble hardly able to breath, she thought she would die and could not have believed that she would live for another 73 years.

Winifred did an enormous amount of voluntary work as a magistrate, chair of the social security appeals tribunal, school governor, prison visitor at Portland and Dorchester prisons and fundraiser for the Children's Society.

Having three children and a happy family herself, she wanted to brighten up life for the boys at the local orphanage so she set up a scheme in the 1950s for local families to invite the boys out at weekends. Those who went to the Scotts stayed in touch with them for many years afterwards.

Winifred had boundless energy, whether for having her grandchildren to stay in the holidays for action-packed days, or for barrowing manure down to her beloved organic vegetable garden until well into her 90s, or for using a chainsaw to cut up logs in her late 80s (until one of her sons confiscated it on health and safety grounds).

Although she had to face the pain of Russell and two of her children – Mary and my husband Edward – dying many years before she did, and cope with the loss of her sight and mobility, she never showed a glimmer of self-pity. To the end she continued to be interested in and engaged with all who knew her.

She is survived by her son Ian, nine grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren. She was a star to us all.

Judith Scott

The GuardianTramp

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