‘Bute’s biggest tourist’ dies

Long-standing Bute tourist Jill Fairbrother
Long-standing Bute tourist Jill Fairbrother

One of Bute’s most faithful and long-standing visitors, who spent nine decades visiting the island, has passed away at the age of 92.

Jill Fairbrother from Glasgow, first came to her favourite island when she was only two-years-old, staying at Little Kilmory Farm. She returned to Bute nearly every year until she passed away last month.

Her daughter Alana Dickinson said: “Mum’s ashes are scattered near Ettrick Bay, a place she loved very dearly. She must have been Bute’s biggest tourist.

“She believed that everyone should have fun, and she started many of our family’s ‘Bute Traditions’. One of these is that someone starts a story, based on Bute, and then passes it on for the next person to continue it and so on until everyone has had a turn. These tales naturally grew more and more fantastical as each person added their own twists and turns in order to make it more tricky for the next person.”

Jill’s family connection with the island goes back two generations as her grandfather, John Ramsey Metcalfe, was a house factor who lived at Glen Cairn, a house on the seafront between Rothesay and Port Bannatyne. His neighbour and good friend was Birdie Bowers, who went with Captain Scott on their ill-fated expedition to the South Pole.

This connection also goes forward two generations as she often brought her children Peter, Alana and Pamela, and grandchildren to the island.

Alana added: “We loved to visit Gambles’ Funfair on the front and the Winter Gardens, where we would inevitably be dragged up on stage as part of the ‘audience participation’ events. She now has a great-granddaughter who lives in America, and the family hopes to bring her over to share this lovely island with her too.”

Jill also owned a holiday flat on Montague Street.