Tribute to Alison

Alison Prince, writer and artist and much loved Arran resident, died on Saturday 12th October. Her funeral was held on Friday 18th in Whiting Bay Church.

By Jim Henderson

On October 18th we shared Alison Prince’s last journey on Arran fulfilling a long eventful journey in her 88 years. Alison came to live on Arran in the 1980s, after a very successful career in London as a children’s author and children’s BBC television script-writer.

It was in Arran that Alison decided to start her own paper naming it ‘The Arran Voice’. The first edition was published on April 7th 2007. The team headed by editor Alison Prince, included reporter Nick Underdown, advertising manager Janis Heaney and production manager Graham Chappell.

The editorial on page 4 stated that “THE ARRAN VOICE aims to do exactly what the title suggests, providing Arran people with a voice that will communicate freely on the Island and be heard nationally and internationally. The Arran Voice has no political or religious affiliations. We are concerned that our editorial policies shall reflect the island sense of what is right and acceptable. The Arran Voice will reflect a strong ethical stance on green issues, recycling, energy systems and include Island entertainment as a vital part of the remit.”

Unfortunately the weekly paper edition failed and the last Arran Voice was published on the 30th April 2009. The editorial heading was very poignant, even appropriate for this article-
“It is not easy to be philosophic when something alive and much loved has to be extinguished.”

A year later following much public support, a meeting was held at the Auchrannie on the 25th March 2010 when the VOICE FOR ARRAN ONLINE WAS BORN. Thanks to the vision of Alison we have now celebrated the 104th edition.

Alison was born on the 26th March 1931 in London and lived through the trauma of the war years. Following marriage and birth of her 3 children Alison began to develop her artistic skills in writing and began script writing for children’s television programmes, resulting in ‘Watch with Mother’ and ‘Trumpton’.

In 2005 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Literature by the University of Leicester, for services to children’s literature.

Her written work is much admired universally, with many editions translated into several languages. She, of course, was also a published poet, with many of her poems expressing the beauty of her Island home. To cap her talents, she was an avid reader and could read books written in French, German, Spanish and Russian. As a musician she was also a fine clarinet player and took part in the Arran Jazz band.

Alison also gave a lot of her time to the community, serving on the Island Community Council as secretary, supported the poetry society and writers group on the island, just to mention a few. Until her health failed, her contribution to the island community can never be underestimated, especially to her Island village of Whiting Bay.

Alison spent many holidays on the Island as a child, and in adult hood promised herself she would return to Arran to live. This happened in 1981- 38 years ago when she flitted to Whiting Bay and purchased ‘Burnfoot’

I know for sure that we never lose
People we love and care for unconditionally
They continue to participate in one’s daily tasks
Leaving an indelible imprint in our memories
Find comfort in knowing that our lives
Have been enriched by Alison’s presence.

Tribute contributed by long-time friend and colleague, Jim Henderson.
Lamlash, October 2019.

Here are some pictures of Alison enjoying things that were close to heart:

Playing with the Jazz Cafe Band


Protesting at the development of fish farms in Arran


A drawing by Alison (done around 2011) of the Jazz Cafe Band