Singer and author Sheila Stewart

Sheila Stewart.

Perthshire-born singer and author Sheila Stewart, who sang for an American president and a pope, has died.

Born in 1937 into a family of Travelling people, she began her singing career at family ceilidhs before going on to play concerts across Scottish village halls.

In the US, the Stewarts of Blair Belle, Alec, Sheila and her sister Cathie received the red-carpet treatment and Sheila went on to sing to President Gerald Ford during the bicentennial celebrations in 1976.

Six years later she appeared before 300,000 people when she was chosen to represent the Travelling people during Pope John Paul II’s visit to Scotland.

Her mother, Belle, was known as a singer and tradition bearer as well as a songwriter, and her father, Alec, was a piper and storyteller.

It was Sheila’s uncle Donald, however, who chose her to carry on the family’s songs and stories.

After her mother’s death in 1997 and her sister Cathie’s retirement, Sheila continued to share her family’s songs and stories with audiences at home and abroad.

She lectured on Travellers’ culture at Princeton and Harvard universities and for many years sat on the Scottish Secretary’s advisory committee on Travellers.

Ms Stewart had arich repertoire of old folk tales and tales of traveller life.