Born Margaret Dove, in London, daughter of a banker, she had had poor health since the 1919 ‘flu epidemic. At the City of London School for Girls she became Head Girl and went on to take Honours English at Westfield College, London. She taught at Calder Girls’ School in the north of England then at Stoatley Rough School, Haslemere where Austrian and German refugee children attended between 1934 and 1960 – ‘she gave them warmth, understanding and stability’ and kept in touch with them as long as they were there. She met Ewan, a Cambridge maths graduate, in 1938 at the International Fellowship of Reconciliation conference in Holland, married him in December 1939 and came to Dundee where they lived at 23 Dunmore Gardens. (Her father disapproved of the marriage; he wanted her ‘tamed.’) They had four children and (eventually) seven grandchildren. She expected to work for a second degree, but social conditions in Dundee were so appalling; she helped local girls’ clubs, persevered and after a year or two became secretary of the Dundee Association of Girls’ Clubs. In 1944 she became a certificated club leader and handed the secretaryship over to a full-time paid organiser.

Margaret taught English and English as a Foreign Language at the College of Commerce for six years part-time and eleven years full-time until 1977. She was three times a co-opted member of the Education Committee from 1946 on, and tried (unsuccessfully) to have the tawse abolished. In the 1970s she joined Amnesty International, serving as local Secretary for 20 years and writing twenty letters a week. She described herself as ‘ a humanist with Christian stripes’; she ‘combined a will of iron with a ceaseless concern about the world’s suffering’ and ‘was consumed by the knowledge that every minute and every hour countless individuals around the world are victims of hunger, oppression, injustice and degradation.’ She pointed out that in the mid-seventies there were over eighty Chileans in Dundee, and served on the Chilean Human Rights Committee which became the Latin American Human Rights Group. From 1973 to 1995 she was a member of the Dundee, latterly Tayside, Community Relations Council (which became the Tayside Racial Equality Committee) from its inception, acting as secretary for many years, working tirelessly for greater understanding of cultural differences. Bill Edgar describes her as ‘a person whose life made a difference in promoting human rights, equality and justice at a local, national and international level.’ She gave money to Oxfam, Amnesty, the Medical Foundation, Romanian children, the RSPB, animal welfare etc. She had a love of English literature and wanted to write. In teaching English she was a perfectionist, but she was not a great cook or housewife. She was a virtual vegetarian and a Friend. Her oldest friend, Myrtle Doughty, describes ‘ a frail, shivering, wheezing figure standing in Dundee’s City Square in sleet and snow during a demonstration in support of the Sandanista regime in Nicaragua’ … her ‘astonishing perseverance.’ In spite of her increasing health problems Tony Robb says ‘she made allowances for others but none for herself.’ She is quoted in the Stoatley Rough School newsletter as asking, ‘Have all my odd jobs added up to something really useful?’