PROUD Greenockian Isabel Lind has shaped the hearts and minds of children for more than four decades.

Isabel has enjoyed a successful teaching career that has spanned 45 years, and all apart from two of those years have been spent in Inverclyde.

Greenock Telegraph:

It should come as no surprise that she was awarded an OBE for services to education and is a great advocate of the Scots language.

Born to parents Elizabeth and William Doull at 99 Wellington Street, Isabel, a former pupil of Ardgowan Primary and Greenock High schools told how she fell in love with music.

And Isabel also developed a passion for teaching from an early age.

She said: "The music department at Greenock High School changed my life. At home we didn't have music, or arts.

"My brother Callum was three years younger and I always made him play schools with me."

Isabel worked hard at school and could have gone to university but decided to go to teacher training college at Jordanhill instead.

Greenock Telegraph:

She started her career at the former King's Glen Primary in the east end of Greenock in 1970.

Isabel said: "I loved it, I learned more from the east end of Greenock than I ever taught them, from the colleagues I had, the children and their families. They were wonderful.

"But I wanted to be a head teacher, I wanted to see if I could run a school myself."

A post came up in Possilpark at Saracen Primary and this was a turning point for the ambitious young teacher.

Isabel said: "It was a baptism of fire. In Possil, the parents either came in to thank you or to give you a 'doing', I don't know how many times I've had to talk myself out of 'getting a doing.'"

She describes the experience as 'colourful episode' in her life and one she will 'never forget'.

Isabel said: "A marked police car was stolen from outside the school.

"Usually when people were visiting, I would send a 'jannie' out to keep a look out but I didn't think I would need that with a police car. It was missing for two days."

This period also saw the start of Isabel's ecumenical work, which she continued when she returned to Inverclyde.

Isabel said: "We had a shared fence between us and St Cuthbert's Catholic School and three weeks after I started I was out in the playground supervising, then a hail of stones came over the fence and hit me.

"There were cries of 'God, they've got the headie'."

Isabel eventually managed to bring both schools together for a special service at St Teresa's RC Church.

She is perhaps best known as headteacher of Ravenscraig Primary for 23 years before spending five years at the helm at Aileymill when Earnhill and Ravenscraig amalgamated.

Isabel said: "It was a challenge bringing two schools together and I worked closely with St Gabriel's head teacher Joan McLaughlin who was a great support.

"I've always been blessed with the people I worked with, I've had the most talented staff.

"I think my strength was getting the best out of people and my enthusiasm.

"I always tried to find something that lit a fire, I tried to do that in all the schools."

Another highlight of her career was creating the Princess Garden, in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, and the visit by her mother Frances Shand-Kydd in June 1998 to open the garden.

Isabel said: "I remember the letter accepting the invitation arrived on April Fools day so everyone thought it was a joke.

"But she came and opened the garden and she spoke absolutely beautifully."

Not only that, the visit was featured in celebrity magazine Hello, putting the school and Greenock on the map.

Isabel has been married to her 'rock' Ronald since 1971 and they have happily lived in Margaret Street for 40 years.

She is close to her brother Callum, who has nine children and is a devoted aunt, particularly to her older nieces Kerry, 51, Cher, 41, but was devastated to lose her beloved niece, Emma, who had suffered from mental health issues, ten years ago.

Mrs Lind is president of Inverclyde Music Festival and Senior Vice President of the Burns Club and is also involved with Inverclyde Historical Society, and Mind Mosaic Family and Children to help young people, such as Emma.

Never one to rest on her laurels, Isabel graduated with a BA Honours in 2021 and is now at the end of my MA on local history and is writing a dissertation on Irish migrants in Greenock 1831- 1861.