Following the recent loss of one of our oldest Honorary Members we record the life and service of Betty Walls.
Miss Elizabeth Ann Cameron Walls (Betty)
26th April 1914 – 26th May 2013
Betty died peacefully, in Cherryholme House, aged 99 years.
She attended Hutchesons’ School for Girls in Glasgow and gained her MA from Glasgow University. After some time as a primary school teacher she moved to Edinburgh. She bought a flat in Morningside Drive, her mother stayed with her and she worked for the Church of Scotland being particularly interested in overseas mission.
This was a life-long commitment and Betty visited mission stations as part of her service. She had stories about her time in Kenya and India. One such was when having to sidestep along a thin ledge on a steep mountainside “Oh that was alright for me, but these two fellows with me, oh they found it difficult.” That led her on to discussing the strength and fortitude of women. In 1972 she became General Secretary of the Church’s Overseas Council – the first woman to hold the appointment, with responsibilities for, among other things, interchurch relations and visiting mission stations around the world.
At the same time, 1972, Betty was the first woman to be ordained as an Elder in Palmerston Place Church – six years after the General Assembly of the Kirk had voted to allow this. Much of Betty’s service showed that women could and should be involved wherever and whenever their service was needed.
She joined Soroptimist International of Edinburgh in 1955, served as club secretary from 1960/62, as club President from 1968/9 and was made an Honorary member of the club. Betty was a faithful member contributing to all club activities until very recently and was interested in members’ families and enjoyed opportunities to meet with the younger generation.
Socially, Betty enjoyed her visits to the Lyceum Theatre and Usher Hall with her dear cousin. His companionship meant a lot and she missed this when he died about five years ago. Also she was no mean water-colourist, an interest she had and was able to develop after retiring. Her love of bridge was legendary.
Her funeral took place on 4th June – her love of life and her long life of service was celebrated. Betty will be missed by her family, friends in Soroptimism, the church and the wider world.