A BELOVED mother and widow of a famous Ayr cobbler has passed away suddenly.

Rebecca Quinn, better known as Reba, died in hospital on Monday, July 20, having taken ill on the day before.

Married to the late Blaney Quinn, Reba and her shoe repairing husband were well-kent figures in Ayr and were memorialised in a plaque celebrating their cobbler shop in a close off Ayr’s Hope Street.

Their daughter Joy McDowall said: “It was a shock, it was an absolute shock to the whole family.”

Reba’s granddaughter, Nicola Phillips, said: “Her home was always a sanctuary and her kindness made us what we are today. She was a mother figure to us all.”

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Reba grew up in New Cumnock, on a house on Afton Road which looked on to the back of the River Afton.

After leaving school, she attended college where she learned shorthand and to be a typist, going on to work for Mathie-Morton and Black solicitors.

At 18-years-old, Reba went into nursing, training at Ayr County Hospital, when she met Blaney.

The couple married and adopted their daughter Joy.

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She said: “They opened up their shop when I was six, when it was on the high street down Matthew Dickie’s Close.

“Originally she was in a couple of days a week to do the account and banking, but it ended up being six days out of seven.

“She cleaned all the shoes, she polished them, put them in a bag and labelled them alphabetically, made my dad’s lunch and dodged him throwing shoes.”

When Blaney had finished with a pair, Joy said, he’d say ‘that’s them done’ and fling them on the floor sometimes hitting Reba’s leg.

He would then say: “Look, it’s alright Reba, don’t worry about it, you’ve got another one.”

When Reba was in hospital for hip surgery, Blaney visited her with a can of WD-40 lubricant.

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Joy said, her dad always wound her mother up but that she herself also had a wicked sense of humour.

Reba was a much loved grandmother and great-grandmother. She has three grandchildren, Nicola, Geordie and Philip, and six great-grandchildren.

The family are shocked and saddened by her sudden death.

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Nicola has returned from her home in America, but Geordie is unable to visit from Australia due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Joy said: “It is very difficult. There’s only 20 allowed at the funeral.

“We’re keeping her ashes until my son comes over from Australia.

“We’ll put some in the Afton water, some in the River Ayr and then we’re keeping some for a plaque being put up at Ayr Cemetery in memory of my mum and dad.”

Reba’s funeral is this Friday, July 31, at 10.30am. The family has asked that anyone wishing to make a donation do so to the British Red Cross.