Isabella  Nurse Buchanan


1915 - 2008


It was with great sadness that islanders heard of the death of Isabella Buchanan after a short spell in hospital. Nurse Buchanan, as she was always known, was not just the oldest  islander but also a great character whose energy and enjoyment of every aspect of life was inspiring. Isabel (as she was always known) took up her nursing post in Lismore in 1941 in the days before there was any doctor let alone a medical infrastructure and worked tirelessly with very little in the way of breaks until she retired in 1981. She married the late Hugh Buchanan in 1942 and had 2 children, Bessie who lives in Lismore and Duncan in South Australia, as well as 7 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren and one great great grandchild. She was famous for her love of snooker and in 1993 she travelled to London to appear on GMTV’s  “This Morning”  after one of her granddaughters wrote so persuasively to them  that they invited her to appear on TV with Fern Britten and Philip Schofield and to meet veteran snooker commentator John Virgo. He then invited her to spend 2 nights in Preston as a guest of honour at the snooker final.


Isabella will be fondly remembered and greatly missed. Above she is shown with her great great grandson Matthew.



The service


Bill Harvey conducted the service on 28 May in the Lismore Parish Church and has kindly provided this transcript for those who could not be there.



"On behalf of the family I would like to give thanks for your support for them today. Following the committal at the cemetery you are invited to join the family at Bessie’s house for refreshments. There will be a retiring offering for the Lismore Medical Fund.


We come to give thanks and celebrate today the life of witness and service of Nurse Buchanan, the much loved Isabel.


                        Let us Sing Psalm 23  - The Lord'is My shepherd




Blessed are they that mourn; for they shall be comforted. The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. Let us pray.


Father in heaven we come to give thanks for the life, witness and service to you of Nurse Isabel Buchanan. We give thanks for a life lived to the full right up to the end. We remember her work at the Carron Works in Falkirk as she waited to start nursing training. We give thanks for the skill that you gave her as a nurse. We remember how she was alongside those in the Island and area in exemplary nursing service. We give thanks for her quiet faith and witness to you her God. We give thanks for her gift and how she served you, O Lord, as organist in this Church for 23 years and organiser of the flower list. We remember her as she participated in the Guild, Red Cross, WRI, Drama and Lunch Club and so much more. We remember a woman who thought of others needs first who gave others an inspiration and example of how to live life. We give you thanks for the inspiration you gave her to start the Bean Bag Stretcher Fund which grew into the Lismore Medical Fund.


We remember the family which meant so much to her and was centre of her life. We remember her reunited with her beloved husband Hugh and sister Jean and brother Bill. We give thanks for the family - brother John; son Duncan married to Mary with family May and Michael with Aidan, Connal, Aislinn; David; Allan and Andrea with Leah May, John Duncan; Julie and Brett with Finn, daughter Bessie with family Linda with Heather Andrew; Louise and Steve with Leigh, Samantha with Matthew, Gerry and Paula with Gerry and Alexander and all the extended family.


We ask, O Father in heaven, that we could be led and inspired by the life of service that Isabel led.  


Eternal God, our heavenly Father, who lovest us with an everlasting love, and canst turn the shadow of death into morning; help us now wait upon Thee with reverent and submissive hearts. In the silence of this hour speak of eternal things, that through patience and comfort of the scriptures we may have hope, and be lifted above our darkness and distress into the light and peace of Thy presence; Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen


                        Psalm 138: 1 - 3 (Remembering Isabel’s life and service)

I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart: before the “gods” I will sing your praise. I will bow down towards your holy temple and will praise your name for your love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word. When I called, you answered me; you made me bold and stout-hearted.

                        John 14: 1-6 & 27 (Words of comfort and promise from Jesus)


Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

1 Peter 4: 8-11 (Remembering the inspiration Isabel passes on)

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administrating God’s grace in it’s various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory and power for ever and ever. Amen

The Lord bless to us the reading of His holy word, and to His name be glory and praise. Amen.


Nurse Isabel Buchanan


Isabella Waugh was born in Carron Shore Falkirk 15th July 1914 and died aged 93. Called Isabella or Bella but she preferred to be known as Isabel.


Leaving school at 14 she worked at the Carron Works making filaments for electric fires. Isabel started her extensive training as a nurse and midwife in the thirties and forties with placements at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children Glasgow, Perth Royal Infirmary and the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh School of Midwifery. Isabel liked to keep up to date and her refresher training went on well into the sixties including training in Madrid and New York. Isabel being Isabel never used her letters after her name or made anything of her being a Queen's Nurse she was simply Nurse Buchanan which she was affectionately known as right up to her death. Even during her last short spell in hospital she was still the nurse telling the nurses she did not need paracetamol. She became nurse and midwife on Lismore also serving in Appin. Her first baby delivered in the area, she proudly reminded folk, was Gregor MacCormick. Isabel started the Bean Bag Stretcher Fund – these were stretchers that could be used to carry people out of awkward places. This Fund grew into the Lismore Medical Fund supplying much needed medical equipment and which our retiring offering will go to today.


Isabel is survived by her brother John, her brother Bill and sister Jean having passed on. She met Hugh Buchanan from Lismore and was married in Larbert Parish Church on 17 December 1942, Hugh died on  14 December 1998. Isabel’s son Duncan and family are in Australia and New Zealand and we especially remember them today knowing that their hearts are very much with us today. Duncan is married to Mary with family May and Michael with Aidan, Connal, Aislinn; David; Allan and Andrea with Leah May, John Duncan all in Australia; Julie and Brett with Finn who are in New Zealand. Isabel’s daughter Bessie with family Linda with Heather Andrew; Louise and Steve with Leigh, Samantha with Matthew, Gerry and Paula with Gerry and Alexander and all the extended family. Anyone who visited Isabel in her house would know how she loved all the family as she would proudly showed all the family pictures around the house.


In all the she did Isabel was sustained by a quiet faith faithfully serving her God and Saviour Jesus Christ. Kirk Session minutes record that she played the organ in this Church for 23 years till 1966. Her service in the Church included the Guild and doing the Flower List for the Church for many years. Other activities were Red Cross, WRI, Drama Club and of course the Lunch Club which she went over to in the Ferry.


When bringing together the thoughts about Isabel I was very aware of her almost looking down saying and reminding me “Make it short Bill”, reminding me of the last Sunday when I saw her in hospital with that wonderful smile on her face that she always had.


Isabel can be an inspiration not only family but to all who knew her. She was generous, positive person with a great sense of humour who lived a positive, rich and full life. All of us gathered here today lives have been enriched with the privilege of knowing Isabel an example to all.



                                                    Let us pray


O God, we come to remember the life of Nurse Isabel Buchanan. For all Thy loving kindness towards Isabel we give you thanks. Now comfort and strengthen John, Duncan, Mary, May, Michael, Aidan, Connal, Aislinn, David, Allan, Andrea, Leah May, John Duncan, Julie, Brett, Finn, Bessie, Linda, Heather, Andrew, Louise, Steve, Leigh Samantha, Matthew, Gerry, Paula, Gerry, Alexander and all the extended family.

In the silence of the next few moments remind those gathered here of cherished memories of Isabel.

We beseech, Almighty God, that we inspired by those gone before, may run with patience the race set before us, looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith; so that when this mortal life is ended, we may be gathered with those whom we have loved, into the kingdom of Thy glory, where there shall be no more death, neither sorrow or crying, neither shall there be any more pain, for the former things are passed away; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Thanks from the family to Isabel


Thank you for kindness

and showing that you care

but most of all I want to say

thanks so much for being there.


Thanks from the family to all of you. A special thanks to Dr Ian, Dr Denise, Dr Mary, Nurse Mairi, Nurse Fiona, the surgery staff, Oban Hospital doctors and nurses and staff. To Iris, Janette, Pete and Fay. To ferryman Allan, Donald, Duncan, Charlie. To all friends in Appin and Port Appin. Geoff and Anne White, Chrissie Malone, Jack Reynolds. 



                Hymn 555  Amazing grace! how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me!





The Lord bless you and keep you: the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious unto you: the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace. Amen.


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