MRS ELMA SCOTT – Aunty Elma “The Godmother of RAF Mountain Rescue”
I have known Mrs Scott – Elma for over 30 years I first met her as a young RAF Mountain Rescue Team Member with RAF Kinloss Mountain Rescue Team in the 1978. I was on the top of Ben More with Don Shanks and this very fit new boy Scotty after a great hill day. Scotty said ” fancy some tea and scones” I thought he was kidding and he pointed down into the Glen where his families house was and that is when I met Elma! Her house below Ben More at Crainlarich is renowned as one of great highland hospitality after a hill day or a rescue. At times we had over 50 people in the house a great place to be. She has a great love of Mountain Rescue, SARDA and especially the RAF as her son Derek served as Deputy Team Leader at RAF Kinloss MRT in the early 70’s and 80’s. Sadly within a two-year period Elma lost her son Paul in Ireland also in the forces and her husband and Derek of cancer. Through this awful period she showed amazing courage and had such strength that I will never forget. She has never let these tragedies change her attitude to life and continues to help her friends and those who know her as we deal with life’s trials and tribulations. Not long after this she was diagnosed with Cancer herself and for a while it was touch and go whether she would survive. Elma fought so hard and beat the cancer with typical Highland fortitude she did just that, she is one tough lady.
Elma has dedicated her life to helping others and despite life tragedies she has been a power of strength to us all. When the RAF Wessex helicopter crashed on Ben More on the first of February 1987 the local Police Sergeant Harry Lawrie the Killin MRT Leader was killed and two others very badly injured. Elma’s wee house became a focal point for the rescue as this was in the days before mobile phones. Her phone was red-hot for the whole night and she was a great assistance to us all. For the week we were involved in the Rescue and Recovery of the casualties and the aircraft she helped many of us who were involved in and shared our grief. This was not just on this occasion but has been constant for the last 30 years. We even have had a few casualties back to the house after a successful Rescue for some highland Hospitality and advice! After the tragedy of Lockerbie and many other sad incidents it was too Elma that many of us turned to for help and advice. She was someone we could all talk to in times of trouble and share her wisdom on life, relationships and the way forward.
She is a huge part of the local community and was a key player in the new hall built-in Crianlarich where the whole community has a purpose-built amenity. It is also a base for her beloved Mountain Rescue Teams who use the hall regularly, she again is very low-key about any part she plays and shuns publicity. Elma has raised many thousands for Cancer Research/ MacMillain Nurses working tirelessly every year with the big events she assists and organises annually. How much has she raised? She will never tell you but is an amazing amount.
Her house is still a centre of Highland Hospitality as the friends she has made over the years and though a pensioner with limited income she looks after her guests with incredible warmth and friendship. Elma has been a mother to us all, looked after us in the good days and the bad, given advice about all subjects from relationship’s to careers. She has been through so much in her life yet she has never let any of us down. She is a legend in the RAF Mountain Rescue World and many of the great and good have been advised of their failings at various times in their careers.
Elma will not be happy that I have written this as she does not like the limelight, but she deserves to be honoured for her incredible life of helping others. She is what makes this small country a special place to be and live in. Elma is a wonderful person, forthright but so caring, she is a special lady and one who is always there for us all. The troops had a party in the village Hall to celebrate her 80th birthday I will not make it but will be thinking of Elma surrounded by her family and friends. Thanks from all those who cannot make it. As soon as I am fit I will be there to see you ,
Many thanks to the RAF Leeming troops who organised this party a huge well done to Marcus and the troops. Elma gave me such a hard time for writing this but she had a great party and over 100 cards!
David Heavy Whalley. BEM. MBE.
This was written a few years ago in 2015 Elma is still going strong. The three RAF Teams have been to visit recently in 2017 and that has made her day. I visited last week just before her birthday on a long trip from the South. As always I took her flowers and baking /cake ingredients they are always welcome. Elma loves visitors so if you are near Crainlarich please pop in but if far away send her a card, she loves them. She loves the photos of the kids and families and her wall is covered in them so if you have not been in touch for a while get that pen out and send a card its the least we can do?
Thanks Elma we all love you xxxx Heavy March 2017