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A former Oban schoolteacher will celebrate her 100th birthday in Fife next week but is looking forward to visiting Oban once more when lockdown is lifted.
Isobel Hirst, ne Wall, was born on June 7, 1920 in Gowan Brae, Ardconnel Road. Her father Allan Wall was a dentist in Oban and her mother Nan Wall was a nurse.
Isobel’s earliest memories were playing in ‘Hunter’s wood’ and riding her bicycle around the edge of the Railway Pier.
When Isobel was around seven years old, the family moved into the dental surgery in Caledonian Mansions adjacent to Argyll Mansions. It was from these windows that Isobel recalls seeing the St Kilda boats arriving at the pier when the last residents were evacuated.
Isobel attended Rockfield Road School and then Oban High School where she excelled, receiving the gold Dux medal in 1937.
Isobel did not want to leave Oban and secured a position for herself in the local bank, but was not allowed to take up the post as the headmaster thought that she should have a university education.
This did not go down well with Isobel who hated being sent away to Glasgow. Three years later she returned to Argyll to teach Maths and Science in Kinlochleven and later in Oban High School as Isobel Terry.
Isobel continued teaching throughout the war years but sadly lost her first husband Kenneth Terry, a pilot, after only six months of marriage.
In 1946 Isobel was introduced to a young soldier who had been invited into the kitchen by her mother for a ‘bowl of soup and a scone’.
Little did she know that the handsome soldier, Cecil Hirst, would become her future husband. They married and settled in Cupar, Fife, where they had five children and lived very happily. Isobel, however, always maintained her love of and contact with Oban, and visits her home there whenever possible.
Since lockdown began Isobel has been living with her daughter Lorna in Cupar where she will be marking her 100th birthday with an online celebration and a socially distanced party in the garden.
When lockdown is lifted however she will be back to visit once more.
‘When I reach the top of the bealach an righ, I’m home,’ she said.