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Hundreds of mourners celebrate the life of Philippa Grant at Rothiemurchus


By Tom Ramage

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Some 500 people gathered today to celebrate the life of Philippa Grant at the family home – The Doune at Rothiemurchus.

A memorial service led by The Most Reverend Mark Strange, Bishop of Moray, Ross and Caithness included addresses from family, friends and members of staff.

The Grant family were joined by some 500 friends and relatives at today's memorial service.
The Grant family were joined by some 500 friends and relatives at today's memorial service.

The Countess of Dysart, who always insisted on being addressed simply as Philippa in a long and eventful life which touched so many others', died on September 16 in a car accident on the A9 near the Slochd.

Guests at the house – encouraged by their hosts to wear bright clothing, in keeping with Philippa's colourful character – were welcomed in sunshine by Johnnie, the 13th Earl of Dysart and her husband of 51 years, along with their children, Louisa, James and Alexandra.

Following a private burial at a spot she chose herself, the service was held outdoors at the family home.

The Earl of Aboyne spoke of childhood days and holidays his family spent with the Grants, Philippa remembered fondy for her "fun, entertainment and leadership” and “loud and infectious laugh”.

He described her as a wonderful mother.

Friend and colleague Lorraine Mann spoke of Philippa’s boundless energy in pursuing so many interests in the health and care sector, tourism and business world.

She described the secret of Philippa's success as being a “people magnet” who drew people to her and took them forward on journeys with her.

Behind the scenes, she opened doors and achieved goals by networking “like fury”.

Ms Mann said she had always been in awe of her friend, adding: "But I'm hardly alone. I think anyone who ever met her, up to and including Johnnie, was in awe of her.

Philippa (centre) with fellow members of the Scottish Tourist Board. Following her marriage in 1971, she moved to Rothiemurchus in 1975. She worked in partnership with her husband to develop the estate which now has about 50 team members in a multiple land-use business.Rothiemurchus welcomes 300,000-500,000 visitors annually to an area of the Cairngorms National Park. She also served on a wide range of local and national bodies and was described by her family as a “life force” and was awarded an MBE for services to NHS Scotland.
Philippa (centre) with fellow members of the Scottish Tourist Board. Following her marriage in 1971, she moved to Rothiemurchus in 1975. She worked in partnership with her husband to develop the estate which now has about 50 team members in a multiple land-use business.Rothiemurchus welcomes 300,000-500,000 visitors annually to an area of the Cairngorms National Park. She also served on a wide range of local and national bodies and was described by her family as a “life force” and was awarded an MBE for services to NHS Scotland.

"We were in awe of her energy, her intellect, her compassion, her enthusiasm, her sheer commitment and her determination to leave the world a better place than she found it.

"And she did."

Michael Chaplin, creator of the locally-filmed Monarch of the Glen hit BBC TV series, brought a light touch to proceedings with his eulogy.

He recalled his friendship with Philippa and their first encounter which started when he visited her at the Doune to seek her local knowledge on how best to deliver the television project.

It had started with some scepticism from her at a meeting over coffee only to continue to take in lunch and then dinner before Mr Chaplin left with a folder full of contacts of Highland lairds.

Philippa had briefed him on who to bring on-board – and just as importantly who not to – in helping to created his global hit which still brings tourists to the strath.

He said Philippa’s assistance had proved invaluable and the show went on to run for 61 episodes and has been shown in 70 countries.

Philippa's brother, Michael Chance endorsed the sentiment in quoting the great Ralph Waldo Emerson: "To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived, this is to have succeeded."

Philippa’s nephew, Alexander Chance, an Alto, sang two hymns, one with Soprano Ines Mayhew-Begg and accompanied on the piano on both by Michael Bawtree.

Pipe Major Alistair Duthie brought the perfect finishing touch to the day with "Countess of Dysart’s Welcome to Edinburgh Castle" and "Philippa, Countess of Dysart’s Farewell".


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