Eleanor was born in Broughty Ferry, and studied at both Grove and Harris Academies. She joined the WVS as an ambulance driver at its inception before World War II, and in 1948 was appointed Central Organiser of WVS. Her efforts were rewarded with an MBE (1950) and a WVS long service medal (1961) and in 1963 she was named Citizen of the Year. She also worked for RSSPCC (latterly Hon Sec of Dundee Branch) for 40 years until she was in her eighties.