Peace protester and co-founder of Faslane Peace Camp
1918 – 2015
Dumbarton born, Margaret Harrison, a lifelong Episcopalian and committed worshipper at St Augustine’s and St Mungo’s has died at the age of 96.
Holding strong Christian beliefs, Margaret, from a young age, kept close to her heart Jesus’ command to love one another. From this core belief she pursued a colourful life of non-violent protest as she dedicated herself to helping to end what she saw as the scandals of world poverty and war. She was a visible presence at the marches at Aldermaston in the 1950s and 1960s where she walked 52 miles carrying placards between London and Berkshire; in 1961 she spent her first night in jail as the first Scottish lady arrested for anti-nuclear activism; and in 1991 she was thrown out of the Houses of Parliament for causing a disturbance. A lifelong member of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Margaret was detained at Her Majesty’s pleasure 14 times for protesting against Polaris and Trident missiles. Her most notable achievement, however, was the founding, with her husband Bobby, of the Peace Camp at Faslane in Argyll and Bute in 1982. There, the first protesters camped in make shift tents but later it turned into a camp of caravans which housed a dedicated group of 20 protesters. The camp still exists today, a silent, but resolute presence and reminder of a different option to the solution of nuclear weapons.
Margaret was born in Dennystown, Dumbarton in 1918 and attended Knoxland Primary and
Dumbarton Academy. Her happy childhood was spent in the east end of the town, where she often escaped to the glen to pick primroses and skilfully avoided the eagle eyes of Lord Overtoun’s gamekeeper. She met her husband Bobby whilst cycling through the Trossachs and began her happy married life in 1945. They had two daughters, Ruth and Anne who gave Margaret and Bobby five beautiful grandchildren and six beloved great-grandchildren. Margaret in her youth was a member of the Scottish People’s Theatre (SPT), and later Dumbarton People’s Theatre enjoying being part of productions such as Romeo and Juliet. Having a good sense of humour, Margaret also loved to entertain audiences with amusing recitations in which she played the many parts herself putting on different voices and accents. Margaret’s lifetime achievements were acknowledged publicly when she was awarded the Freedom of Dumbarton.
For her whole life Margaret devoted herself to peace. She was a poet and inspired many by the actions she took and the words she spoke. She will be remembered with affection and admiration by the communities of Dumbarton and Alexandria.
There will be a Memorial Service in thanksgiving for Margaret’s life in St Mungo’s Episcopal Church, Alexandria, on Saturday, May 16th at 1pm.