It was with much sadness that I learned of the death of Fiona George last week in Tollcross. I mostly knew Fiona through the cycling connection but soon came to realise that her sense of humour and kindness more than made up for any other minor deficiencies. She was very supportive to me in a difficult time a few years ago. She was easily the worst map reader I ever met, but the best of company on any bike ride. She could be argumentative, and certainly held her own in the banter of the cycling group. I spent a wonderful sunny week with her (and Dave McArthur) on the Isle of Jura a few years ago and will always remember that happy time.
Harry Henniker (30/7/08)
She was a colourful and completely unforgettable character. She gave a tale for every ride she went on. Her first bike was so heavy that no-one made the mistake of lifting it into Harry’s trailer twice. The little plastic rings on the spokes irritated and amused in equal measure. In spite of its weight it was stolen to be replaced by another that went the same way a few years later.
There were the friendly squabbles with Duncan and Graham, the lack of attention to maintenance epitomised by punctured spare tyres and missing nuts and bolts. She once locked her bike to Alec’s without first checking she had the key (she hadn’t. A taxi dash back to Edinburgh to find it ensued).
She got lost on every ride she went on, slipping off the back or over shooting at the front of the group. She’d elude those sent to look for her and be found where she should have been in the first place! She was amazingly accepting of all the mishaps and could take the stick that was the result of her banter.
For the last few years she had lived with and looked after her mother. She was a member of Spokes and in the AYR (all year ramblers) group. She leaves her mother and three sisters.
Her brother-in-law, John Burns, in his address recalled upon her ability to get into scrapes some of which could have had really serious consequences. One such that sprang to mind to some of us was on a Bike Bus trip in Northumberland. We were staying at the hostel at Ford Castle. Fiona, thinking to be considerate, decided not to put the light on when she got up in the night. Unfortunately this resulted in her falling down the wooden stairs, which of course woke everyone! Luckily she escaped with bumps and bruises.
He also remarked upon her unique dress style, her good sense of fun and her selflessness.
The last trip to Kilmartin was a classic with Fiona's bike being impossible to put on my rear fitting bike rack, though she was not down-hearted and on the Saturday morning drove her to the local bike shop - strangely not open on a Sunday so she had to rent a bike for only a day. Picked her up that afternoon looking happy and smiley with a pint in hand and then helped her with the chopping up of peppers for a delicious starter for the evening meal.
On the following day she borrowed someone's bike and everyone turned left from the hostel - yup - she turned right. My abiding memory of that day apart from the dirty laughs on the way back to a misty Edinburgh with her and Alison, was waiting in Ross's main group for her on some Crinan canal lock and seeing this dot hoving into view, stopping to smother herself in sunscreen before arriving wreathed in smiles - that impression I thought was so apposite given the very moving reading at the funeral, of Victor Hugo's 'Foreshore' where of course the journey was reversed in every sense.
Kathy and Fiona were sharing a room on a bike w/e. Fiona for some reason entered the room late when Kathy had the light out but she was not asleep. Fiona apparently proceeded to annoint her body with lotion in the dark before lying down. Next morning Kathy gathered her things together for cycling but when she came to put on her helmet, it was full of body lotion which went into her hair!! Fiona must have dumped the bottle upside down without the lid and just happened to put it into Kathy's upturned helmet!!
What about the story of when she set fire to her jumper which she threw into the bath. This went onto burn the bath!! Such a wealth of stories.
Her family have asked her cycling friends to sactter her ashes. A day ride is being organised for this. Details will be posted on the yahoogroup message board.
Photos by Harry, Guy, Tiana and Ross..