Donnan is a very familiar surname in Galloway and one branch of the family made a pilgrimage to Monreith last weekend to remember a very special woman whose love of the area helped fund the famous Gavin Maxwell otter memorial at St Medan’s.
Ian Donnan from Cheshire and his sister Eileen Bool from Somerset made the long trip north to attend the Glasgow Galloway Association dinner in Gatehouse, as a tribute to their late mother Anne, a former member, who died in May at he age of 98.
Anne had married a Gallovidan and, having visited here many times, adopted the region as her homeland. Anne and her husband were living in London for a time where they were heavily involved in the London Galloway Association. That organisation was being would up at the same time that the committee formed to raise funds for the otter memorial were canvassing interested parties. At a Galloway Association dinner in the late 1970s, Anne Donnan pledged the funds left in the London organisation’s coffers to the memorial fund and, once it was in situ, she attended its unveiling at St Medan, overlooking the Maxwell family burial ground in October 1978 with her son Ian.
Returning to the same place 26 years later, Ian said: “Although born in Kilmarnock, after marrying my father my mother was a committed Gallovidian for the rest of her life and we had to come back here to visit the otter she helped created and remember her. This otter statue was very special to her”
A the time of the First World war, Ian and Eileen’s paternal great-grandfather was William Kelly Donnan, a cabinetmaker who had a shop (now Ian Broll the Funeral Director’s premises), at 8 Arthur Street, Newton Stewart.