Visit brings dad’s old stories to life

Linda (centre) and Maureen Dodd (right) with Jake Drummond from the Kirkcaldy Motor Cycle Club
Linda (centre) and Maureen Dodd (right) with Jake Drummond from the Kirkcaldy Motor Cycle Club

A Canadian mother and daughter visited Kirkcaldy this week to reminisce and help them “bring some of the old stories to life.”

Linda Roman (50), and her mother Maureen Dodd (74), made the emotional trip to the Lang Toun to trace their family roots and rekindle old memories, passed down to Linda throughout her childhood, of her father’s boyhood in the town.

The old Baxter and Welsh shop on Links St opposite Bute Wynd

The old Baxter and Welsh shop on Links St opposite Bute Wynd

Her dad Sam Dodd junior was the grandson of Bernard and Margaret Welsh who, with Margaret’s sister Elisabeth Baxter, owned the famous Baxter and Welsh drapers and grocers on Links Street, opposite Bute Wynd.

Despite emigrating to Canada aged just 12, Sam often told his family about trips to his grandmother’s home in Kirkcaldy, where he learned to swim off the sea wall and of running down Bute Wynd from the shop to the sea where he and brother Ben spent happy days playing on the beach.

Maureen explained: “We all knew all about Kirkcaldy which Sam loved and talked about so much we felt we knew it too! When I asked Linda how she wanted to celebrate her 50th birthday, she said she wanted to visit Scotland and see where her father grew up.”

Linda’s older sister Sheila had previously contacted Jake Drummond of Kirkcaldy and District Motor Club for information about Sam Dodd senior, her grandfather, a well known TT motorcycle racer.

When Jake looked into the records, he discovered that Sam was also a former member of the club and a regular competitor in the Sand Races during the 1930s.

When he discovered Linda and her mum were planning to visit, he contacted local sources, including the Press, to try to discover more about the family so he could give them more information when they came.

On Monday, Jake met the ladies at Kirkcaldy train station and took them on a sightseeing trip around the town, showing them where Margaret and her sister had their shop.

Linda said: “I always wanted to visit the place where my dad spent such a happy childhood so it would help bring the old stories to life. It is much prettier here than I anticipated, and the train trip across from Edinburgh was lovely.”

As well as visiting places of significance to the family in Kirkcaldy, Jake took them to Dysart and the Wemyss villages, where family members are buried, then to Kilconquhar, where relative William Welsh was born.

“It was a pleasure showing the ladies where their family were brought up and they seemed to really enjoy themselves,” he said.

Linda added: “We can’t think Jake enough for everything he’s done for us. It is great to have someone with local knowledge showing us around.”