Mrs Ann Watters: A lifetime of service

Ann Watters
Ann Watters

ANN Watters MBE, one of the town’s most respected figures has died at the age of 86.

A renowned authority on the heritage and history of Kirkcaldy, she also served the town as a councillor and a teacher.

Ann Watters, nee Douglas, was born and brought up in Surrey, and she spent the latter war years in Aberdour and St Leonard’s School in St Andrews.

She read science at London University (Bedford Ladies College) graduating with a BSc in 1947.

It was on a train journey to Scotland she met Norman Watters, a dentist, soon to be discharged from the RAF and they married in 1949.

The couple went to Durban and Pinetown in South Africa for three years, before moving back to Britain and settling in Kirkcaldy.

In their early years, Ann was a wife, mother and relief teacher.

From 1958 she was appointed to teach science at Templehall Secondary School.

She continued to work there until 1972, when she was appointed deputy science adviser in Fife.

Mrs Watters held this post until retiring in 1991, concentrating mostly on primary schools and also establishing the Wemyss Environmental Education Centre, which has been in operation since 1978.

She joined the Social Democratic Party when it formed under the ‘Gang of Four’ in 1981 and in 1984 she was elected to Kirkcaldy District Council as the first SDP Councillor representing the ward of Dunnikier.

In 1996, after Fife Council was formed, she served another 10 years, championing local issues, the environment, heritage, decent standards and common sense.

Mrs Watters made a major contribution to the heritage of Kirkcaldy as chairman of the Kirkcaldy Civic Society for 24 years, a contribution for which she later received the MBE.

There are some 40 plaques erected, and over 20 booklets published by the society, which she authored, illustrated, edited or produced.

She made a sustained contribution within the Save Wemyss Ancient Caves Society and for over a quarter of a century was a regular lecturer, guide and advocate for their preservation.

Following her husband’s death in 1996, she was elected an honorary vice-president of Bowhill People’s Burns Club.

She taught a local history class in the University of the Third Age and during her time in Kirkcaldy was an active member of the West End Congregational Church.

Mrs Watters died peacefully in a nursing home in Belper, Derbyshire, where she had spent her final six months.

Until June last year she was giving regular lectures on Kirkcaldy’s heritage and history.

She faced her last illness with insight and great courage.

She is survived by her son, David, daughter Fiona, six grandchildren, two step grandchildren and her first great grandchild.