Margaret Cockburn of Strathkinness, who battled cancer for 34 years, has died aged 78.
She was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphona in 1988 but refused to allow the condition to dominate her life.
Margaret continued to assist her late husband Edwin in his motor engineering business, raised a family, and pursued her hobbies of watercolour painting and gardening.
However, in recent years she was diagnosed with mouth cancer and treatment proved unsuccessful.
Her daughter, Julie Cockburn, said she believed her mother was the longest-surviving, or one of the long-surviving cancer patients, to be treated at Ninewells Hospital.
“Our mum was eternally grateful for the care she received at Ninewells, St Andrews Hospital and latterly to the care teams that visited the house,” said Julie.
Margaret was born on a farm near St Andrews to farmer Thomas Stewart and his wife Margaret. She was the older sibling of Joyce, the late Tommy, and Barbara.
She was educated at the Burgh School, St Andrews, where she loved art and poetry. She won a Burns Society award for poetry and had one of her sketches shown on BBC TV in 1959.
Eye for design
When Margaret left school she went to work in McGregor’s furniture business and later at Graeme Renton Orientals where she was drawn to the art, design and craft of the trade.
It was at the dancing at St Andrews Town Hall that she met her future husband, motor engineer, Edwin Cockburn.
They soon began courting, were married at Dunino Church in 1965 and had two of a family, Philip and Julie.
They began married life in a cottage in Kellock Lane, Strathkinness, and both worked hard to make a success of the engineering enterprise.
Margaret painted watercolour landscapes throughout her life and became involved with Forgan Arts Centre and Cupar Arts Club.
It was in 1988 that she received her diagnosis of Non-Hodgkin Lymphona.
Julie said: “She had a lump under her chin and got treatment. From the word go she felt she was going to beat it; she was so positive.
“Our mum did not let her illness dominate her life. She continued to play tennis and badminton and combined an interest in nutrition with positivity.
“My mother had so many operations, chemotherapy and radiotherapy but never complained. She just picked herself up and dusted herself down and got on with it.
‘Accepted her fate with dignity’
“She had so many battles over the years but was stoical. I would say that encapsulates her.
“Last year she was diagnosed with mouth cancer. There was the option of a 16 to 18 hour operation followed by time in the high-dependency unit but she chose radiotherapy which was not successful.
“She just accepted her fate with dignity,” said Julie.
Back in 2007, during one course of Margaret’s treatment, Julie had her head shaved and held a pub collection in Broughty Ferry.
Her efforts raised £5,350 which Julie and Margaret presented to Ward 34 at Ninewells Hospital.
During her latest illness, Margaret read a newspaper article featuring Kirkcaldy woman Barbara Boyd of the charity Let’s Talk About Mouth Cancer.
They both had mouth cancer and developed a supportive friendship.
At Margaret’s funeral, £1,000 was collected to support the work of Let’s Talk About Mouth Cancer.