Molly Forbes, the Aberdeenshire pensioner whose own border war with Donald Trump made her an unlikely international star, has died at the age of 96.
Most people knew her story through the films of Anthony Baxter, who detailed the struggles she and her neighbours faced at the hands of the former president when he built his golf resort at Balmedie, in his films, You’ve Been Trumped and You’ve Been Trumped Too.
He said he was proud to have been able to share the story of a woman who tried to warn the US about the damage Donald Trump could cause in the White house and dealt with her own personal onslaught with dignity.
“What you see on film is what she was,” he said.
“A lovely, wise person who loved nature and responded to Donald Trump with courage and dignity.
“She loved the landscape, the animals, the birds. She had grown up around the Balmedie area, still spoke the Doric dialect.
To hear Molly talk in Doric and remember so many things about the way of life there was fascinating. It was her whole world.”
Anthony said Molly was someone who saw very early on what Donald Trump was capable of when he started building his golf course next to her home and that of her son Michael at the Menie Estate.
“Along with Michael, she was one of the first people to call him out for his lies and ill-treatment of people who got in his way,” he said.
“They were threatened with compulsory purchase orders and branded a national disgrace by the Trump organisation.
“Donald Trump threatened them and their neighbours with legal action and somehow she always showed such incredible dignity and courage in the way she dealt with it.”
Not so unlikely heroine
Molly became an unlikely environmental hero following her appearance in the films but in many ways she was made for the role, said Anthony.
“She had spent her life looking after nature,” he said.
“She was a World War Two land girl, she could remember the names of the cows she milked, would give her cows a hug.
“That was her warm, embracing personality. Lots of people came to see her after the films were released and whoever you were, whatever your age you got a warm welcome and a cup of tea.”
Molly’s hospitality extended to everyone, he said.
“When You’ve Been Trumped was released in America people would write to her and Michael and when they came over to Scotland, as some of them did, they would seek her out.
“I think what appealed to people, and the thing that struck me the most, was the way that through all of that time with Trump and the horrible abuse she endured and saw her son Michael and his wife and the other local residents endure she just always showed such incredible dignity.
“When her water supply was cut off by Trump’s workers– and never fixed properly – she spent years collecting water from the stream. And she didn’t complain about it, she just go on with it because that’s the way she lived.”
That’s not to say Molly kept quiet about injustice.
“She was in a position, from her experience, to warn America ahead of the 2016 election to be very careful when thinking about voting for Donald Trump,” said Anthony.
“In You’ve Been Trumped Too, she predicted that if he became president America would regret it. She warned there would be huge divisions in the country – violence even – because she had seen the way he could manipulate people in Scotland.
“And she was proved right so many times. In many ways what happened to Molly and her neighbours and to Scotland in general became a microcosm for the Trump presidency.”
Molly died on April 11 and had gone on living in her home at Menie – her “paradise” – until very recently when she went into a home in Aberdeenshire.
Anthony said: “I visited her before lockdown but it must have been difficult for her to be away from her family and the land. She made the best of life, despite everything that happened with Donald Trump, and she really was an inspiration.
“Wherever I’ve been and people have seen the films they always ask ‘How’s Molly?’
“People really cared about her and I’m glad I was able to tell a little of her story.”
Anthony Baxter is a Montrose-based director and cinematographer, best known for Flint (2020), You’ve Been Trumped (2011) and A Dangerous Game (2014). His latest film, Eye of the Storm, is a portrait of the Angus landscape artist James Morrison.