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"My beautiful wife's ovarian cancer was a classic instance of late diagnosis"

13 March 2017

Margaret Watson

George Watson lost his wife to ovarian cancer in 2012 aged 69. He shares his story and details of an unusual fundraiser, which the ladies of his Rotary club organised earlier this year.

“India was my late wife Margaret's birthplace, where her officer father was in charge of an Italian Prisoner of War camp, but after the war the family lived in Colonial style until schooling meant a return to Scotland at the age of twelve.

She and I came from quite different backgrounds, my own birthplace was a small Ayrshire town. We met, fell in love and married, and almost made it to our Golden Wedding, but tragically the family and I lost Margaret five years ago.

My beautiful wife's ovarian cancer was a classic instance of late diagnosis followed by four years of progressively aggressive chemotherapy.

Though she has gone, as a pharmacist I still eagerly grasp at learning of any clinical progress and take delight in the wonderful research, which goes to help other women.

"One of my four grand daughters had done a sponsored run to raise a four-figure sum, but recently a new and unusual fundraiser presented itself"

George Watson

Troon Rotary club are very active within and beyond our local community, including our seven lady members and not least our current President Heather McGuffie. Heather had sadly lost her mother to ovarian cancer and sought to raise funds for Ovarian Cancer Action. The resulting event was a Jean Armour Dinner.

You may well ask: so who exactly is, or was, Jean Armour? Well, the name of Robert Burns is known world wide, but less so that of his wife, Jean Armour, who stood by the Scottish poet throughout his short but tumultuous poetic career. She remained arguably the love of his life, despite Robert's reputation for straying occasionally from domesticity!

January, especially in Ayrshire, is of course the season of celebration of Burns Suppers, not just on the 25th, but our lady members chose instead to celebrate the life of Jean Armour.

Appropriately the main speaker on the evening was author Catherine Czerwaska, who recently published 'The Jewel', an authentic and charming biography of Jean, outlining the highs and lows of their union, not least the premature death of several of their nine children and her willing adoption of Robert's illegitimate daughter.

Over one hundred ladies enjoyed the evening and some of the funds from the event went to local charities, but the majority, £1,500, was appropriately destined for Ovarian Cancer Action. In addition 'what you need to know' leaflets were distributed on the night and later to local surgeries.

One of my greatest personal regrets is that Margaret did not live to welcome our youngest granddaughter, now aged three, but my hope is that her generation, and indeed the prospective families of all our grandchildren will witness continuing progress in treating ovarian cancer.

Margaret will never be forgotten, but happily her memory will live on since the granddaughter whom she never held is aptly named India.”

Find out how you can hold your own fundraising event for Ovarian Cancer Action