Peggy was part of Dundee city’s labour movement’s tradition of strong, active, committed women. Born in Lochee the youngest of three children she won a bursary to an academy; however the cost of books proved prohibitive. Her ambition was to become a lawyer.

On leaving school she worked in retail. Her personal life was full of challenges, typical of the sex discrimination of the time. She married and had 2 sons, but she parted from her husband in 1947 and lived with her mother. Some time later she found happiness with a new partner, Sid, and they had a daughter, braving the scandal and disapproval of the times. They were finally able to marry in 1960. After her daughter was born in 1954 Peggy worked in the School Meals Service. It is still remembered how she refused as head cook to accept a delivery of South African oranges because of the apartheid regime. She was risking disciplinary action!

Peggy became a General Municipal and Boilermakers Trade Union (GMB)¬†full time officer. To go from representing her fellow workers to applying for a full-time official’s post, then after a probationary period being overwhelmingly endorsed by a vote of her branch members, was unusual for a woman at that time. To have done so as a communist woman within the GMB Union was truly extraordinary and, in the 1980s, unique.

Peggy was also a lifelong activist for peace, expressing her deeply held wish for harmony with, and her respect for, the Soviet Union. As a member of the Dundee Peace Committee she campaigned against the dangerous rhetoric of the cold war and for the abolition of nuclear weapons, protesting against Polaris in the sixties, Cruise in the eighties and Trident in the nineties.

Internationalism was second nature to her, perhaps best illustrated by her work in solidarity with the people of Chile, following the brutal overthrow of the Allende Government in September 1973 by the Pinochet dictatorship. Peggy was one of those active in ensuring that those Chilean refugee families who found their way to Dundee received a warm and supportive welcome. Peggy’s commitment to the cause of her fellow women was lifelong, deep rooted and radical. From equality in workplace terms & conditions and wages, to free contraception and free sanitary protection for women, Peggy was in the vanguard. She campaigned vigorously for a woman’s right to choose, and in the 1970s helped to establish Women’s Aid in Dundee, an organisation she went on to work as a volunteer for after her retirement. She refused to accept what was seen as the traditional woman’s role, either in the Trade Union movement or in life in general. She was well regarded by all in her field and as an activist.

Although already long committed to the Pensioners movement, retirement gave her more time for activism in that field. With the local branch of the Scottish Old Age Pensioners Association, then with the Dundee Pensioners Forum, Peggy could often be seen on the streets leafleting against gas and electricity standing charges, on restoring the link between wages and the state pension and on other vital issues. She was still their Honorary Treasurer when she died.

At the STUC Congress in Glasgow in 1997 celebrating its centenary the City Halls resounded with cheers and applause when Peggy (now aged 73) and Sid were acknowledged together from the platform on the achievement of a century of combined Trade Union membership and activism between them.

She was a truly remarkable and inspirational woman for her time and had a vision of the world she wanted to see – a world free from discrimination, free from exploitation, free from war.