Descendents of Tor-na-Dee founder gather

From left to right: Lorna Clarke (great granddaughter), Hannah Gilchrist (great great great granddaughter), Laura Gilchrist (great great granddaughter), Jody Fearn (great granddaughter)
From left to right: Lorna Clarke (great granddaughter), Hannah Gilchrist (great great great granddaughter), Laura Gilchrist (great great granddaughter), Jody Fearn (great granddaughter)

Varying degrees of great grandaughters descended from a philanthropist gathered at a plinth honouring his work at the weekend.

The late Rev Alexander Stewart founded the Murtle hydropathic hospice and sanitorium, to become known as Tor-na-Dee, in Milltimber in 1898, which had over 100 beds and was used to provide convalescent care for the poor and over-worked.

The late Rev Alexander Stewart: Founder of Tor-na-Dee

The late Rev Alexander Stewart: Founder of Tor-na-Dee

Last Saturday, a small group of his descendents went along to the former Tor-na-Dee site, where the plinth that had once stood by the hospice honouring its opening had been returned after an absence of over a decade.

Jody Fearn, great granddaughter of the Rev Stewart Alexander, said: “I’m very proud of what he achieved. When I first saw the plinth, it was lovely, and it’s quite exciting to see it put back again.”

When the hospice was opened, the plinth and an urn were erected at the site, but were removed and taken into safe-keeping when the it was sold by Aberdeen Royal Infirmary in 1998 - while the plinth now stands where it was originally intended to, the urn has mysteriously disappeared.

On the subject of the urn, Jody added: “It’s rather a pity, and it would be lovely if it could be found.”

The Rev Stewart’s other great granddaughter, Lorna Clarke, said: “I think it’s nice from a historical perspective, just to keep a track of who did what for the city.”

Lorna travelled from Inverurie for the gathering, while Jody and her husband travelled all the way from Guildford, and her daughter and grand daughter, Laura and Hannah Gilchrist, both travelled across from Glasgow.

The Rev Stewart was born in 1835 in Cupar Angus, and died in 1909. He is buried in Aberdeen.