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Kate Macphail



Kate Macphail, much-loved member of Ullapool Coastal Rowing Club, passed away on the 29th of May 2015.  Her skiffie friends marked their respect and affection for Kate by turning out for her funeral in club shirts.  Social rows with Kate were very social affairs indeed, with laughter being the order of the day.  She was full of joie de vivre, and will be missed by us all.

The following eulogy was written by Sue Agnew and Fiona MacDonald, and read by Sue at Kate’s funeral.

Kate Macphail – our rower and friend.  The first thing that comes to mind about Kate was her unmistakeable and hugely infectious laugh.  You couldn’t help but smile and laugh along with her.  That was, I think, one of her most attractive qualities; always cheery and she made others feel the same, no matter what kind of day you might be having.

And that’s how Kate was with us all when she joined the rowing club.  She immediately became one of our stalwarts.  I remember the first day she turned up to row, looking stylish and elegant as only Kate could in those red neoprene trousers.  She needed them, as she would turn out to fill a boat space in some of our more inclement Ullapool weather. And she brought to that boat, good humour and laughter with every crew she rowed with, which was a great asset to have.

Maybe the competitive racing was not quite to her liking, but the social craic with a crew of ladies or mixed members certainly was.  And she quickly became one of the great “do-ers” within the rowing circle.

She volunteered to help in all our fundraisers, maintaining she couldn’t bake, and that Nigel would make the soup, but nevertheless arrived, hat on, full of enthusiasm, rolled up her sleeves and got on with the job.

And we did a huge amount of this fundraising leading up to the 2013 World Championships.  Kate was involved in all of it.  She stepped in to take on the job of minute secretary for the Worlds organising committee and helped steer and support us through a major event in our community.  She offered many words of wisdom, her sharp mind interested in what was going on.  Her direct manner, which kept us on our toes, was Kate through and through.

The title of Soup Dragon was bestowed upon her with some trepidation when she and Helen gallantly took on the task of providing copious amounts of hot soup at the World Championships and subsequent Regattas.  But she took it with great spirit, hopefully recognising this title was bestowed with our admiration on a lady who was generous and giving, and who was our friend.

Her leaving us has left a big hole in our small rowing community.  It was a pleasure to have known her and to have rowed and laughed with her.  We will lift a glass of Guinness to her at our next rowing Regatta.

In loving memory of Kate Macphail, 7 September 1946 – 29 May 2015

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