Back in 1998, my then fiancé Philip and I were searching for a new home. Somewhere we would start married life and hopefully bring up a family.
We both felt strongly that we wanted to live in a village, but somewhere close enough to Perth for my work and Dundee for his. We had looked at various houses in the Bridge of Earn and Carse of Gowrie areas but nowhere had felt just right.
One day we had been to view a house in Bridge of Earn, which was lovely, but it wasn’t what we were looking. We sat in the car afterwards and had another look through the property guide and a picture of a white, terraced cottage caught our eye. We hadn’t really considered Abernethy as a location but, as we were only a few minutes away, we decided to drive along and have a quick look. We drove into the village, admired the Abernethy round tower and the quirky main street, and turned up into Kirk Wynd. We pulled up outside the white cottage and we both immediately knew that we wanted to have a closer look. Not being ones to hang about, we stopped at the phone box outside The Inn (this was before the days when everyone had a mobile phone!) and rang the number on the advert.
We viewed the house and couldn’t keep the smiles off our faces. We both immediately knew that we had found the home we were looking for.
In spring 1999 we got married and the previous owners of our house the Kennedy’s (who had 4 sons) were amongst other local friends who joined us to celebrate. In the guest book at our wedding they wrote a comment about there being ‘something in the water’ at Lawview. Sure enough, Phil and I went on to have 4 children ourselves.
Over the years our initial gut instincts have been proved right. Abernethy truly is the perfect place to settle down and bring up a family. It is a beautiful location, but within easy distance of all the facilities Perth has to offer. There are always lots of things going on and the village has a real sense of community.
Abernethy has always been a special place for us, but never more so than in recent months. On Sunday 20th August Philip took ill at home and had to be ambulanced to PRI, he was then promptly transferred and admitted to Ninewells in Dundee. Within 24 hours of leaving home his condition had deteriorated rapidly and the consultants told me that he was gravely ill and that he needed to go into Intensive Care. I was told to contact the family and suggest that they come to Dundee as soon as possible and that we should prepare for the worst. Thus began our roller coaster 32 day ICU journey.
Sadly, despite all the efforts of the ICU staff, Philip passed away, peacefully, in the early hours of the morning on Friday 22nd September. Myself, our eldest daughter Hannah, Philip’s brother Stephen, sister Rachel and brother in law Kevin were by his side until the end.
And so to the real point of this article….the village of Abernethy is a truly special place. During this nightmare time our friends and neighbours in the village and members of the church and wider community of Abernethy, have wrapped their arms around our family, surrounded us with love and supported us in every way possible. This help and support has come in many forms- delivering meals and shopping for the kids and I, helping with childcare to allow me to spend as much time as needed at the hospital, helping with transport to Ninewells (sometimes in the middle of the night), providing accommodation for relatives, cutting grass, walking dogs, sending cards and flowers…. The list is endless. But the community have also been there to support us emotionally, a shoulder to cry on, a kind word, a hug or a hand on my shoulder. It was really lovely to see so many friends and neighbours come to the church to pay their last respects to Philip.
When Philip first went in to hospital a friend quoted the African proverb “It takes a village to raise a child” to me, encouraging me to reach out and ask for whatever support I needed. This proverb recognises the importance of shared responsibility and community spirit in our lives. It teaches that ‘family’ is about way more than blood & is in fact about friends, neighbours and a genuine sense of belonging within a community. It is about giving and receiving mutual help and support and working together for the greater good.
There are so many people the family & I want to thank, too many to mention individually here, but they know who they are and they know that we are truly grateful for everything they have done and will never forget their kindness.
Abernethy has proved itself to be a ‘village’ in the true sense of the word. It has enveloped myself and my 4 children in love, at what has been the hardest time of our lives, and I know that it will continue to do so for many years to come. We are all so very lucky to live in such a truly special place.