Our thanks to the Aberfoyle Past and Present Facebook page and the Strathard News for this lovely memory.
In August 2023 a renewed bench was moved to outside the relatively new Co-op in Aberfoyle. What follows are some photographs taken on the day of Joyce with friends and family.
In Issue 127 of the Strathard News which was published in November 2023 Stewart’s daughter wrote the following
What follows is the full text from Susan in the Strathard News:
Hi there. This is Susan here, Steward McLaren’s daughter.
I’m sure a lot of people reading this will remember my amazing, big, kind, caring, loving and funny Dad. Many of you will remember him from his days in the co-op, having worked there for many (around 35) years, from a young lad driving the van to the rural areas, up until a few years before his retiral. He left the co-op and went on to become the local street cleaner and lollipop man, which he enjoyed very much. He always enjoyed a blether with the locals, visitors to the village and chatting with the school kids. He always had a story to tell.
On Dad’s retirement, in November 2005, he was kindly gifted a bench from the local community organised by Ros Dingwall. It was a lovely big solid bench with his name carved on top of it. It was to be placed outside the local Post Office. It was such a kind gesture, Dad was touched and thrilled to bits with it. It sat there for a few years before being offered to mum to put in her garden. Mum had it in the garden for many years. She painted it and looked after it the best she could but over the last few years found it too hard to maintain.
Mum’s neighbour, Michael spoke to the village people and they decided to take it upon themselves to rejuvenate it and put it back in the village where it belonged. It was fixed up and painted a lovely blue, which Dad would have loved being a Rangers fan! Emma and the staff at the co-op organised a morning a few weeks back to unveil the new revived bench. It now sits proudly outside the co-op which seems very apt! My Dad would have loved sitting on it having a good gad with anyone that passed by or sat beside him because that just was my Dad. Sadly, we lost him in 2015, but his memory will live on in the village with his bench.
Thanks to Mum’s neighbours Michael and Annie Clayton and Trevor from the repair café for repairing and painting the bench and to anyone else that helped! I really hope the bench is used and enjoyed by visitors to the village, but especially by the local people who knew him well. It’s a fantastic memorial to my Dad.