Memorial service to be held for ‘Madame Ecosse’ Winnie Ewing

The service for the former MP, MEP and MSP will be held at Inverness Cathedral.

Memorial service to be held in Inverness for Winnie Ewing PA Media

Tributes will be paid to the late SNP politician Winnie Ewing, the party’s first female parliamentarian, at a memorial service on Saturday.

The 93-year-old former MP, MEP, and MSP, affectionately known as Madame Ecosse, died last month, surrounded by her family.

Former first minister Alex Salmond and former Scottish Government Cabinet Minister, Alex Neil, will give eulogies at the service at Inverness Cathedral on Saturday, which will be livestreamed.

First Minister Humza Yousaf, Scottish Parliament Presiding Officer Alison Johnstone and Highland MSP Kate Forbes will also give readings.

Winnie Ewing with Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon in 2005.PA Media

The service will be conducted by the Most Reverend Mark Strange, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church and Bishop of the Diocese of Moray, Ross & Caithness, and the Very Reverend Sarah Murray, Provost of Inverness Cathedral.

Gaelic songs will be performed by Julie Fowlis, accompanied by her husband, Eamon Doorley, and Ciara, one of Ewing’s grand-daughters.

Described as a “beloved icon” of the Scottish independence movement, Ewing was perhaps best known for declaring “Stop the world, Scotland wants to get on” after her shock victory at the Hamilton by-election in 1967.

That victory saw her become Scotland’s first ever female parliamentarian.

Following her death Mr Yousaf paid tribute to the “steadfastly European” former MEP, saying that she had played a “key role in shaping the perception of Scotland as a true European nation”.

And former first minister Nicola Sturgeon described Ewing, who was the first presiding officer of the reconvened Scottish Parliament in 1999, as a “beloved icon”.

She said: “I can’t begin to convey the depth of gratitude I feel for the advice, wisdom, encouragement and inspiration Winnie gave me and so many others over the years.”

Ewing is survived by her children Fergus, Annabelle and Terry and grandchildren Natasha, Ciara, Jamie, and Sophie.

Flags flew at half-mast outside the Scottish Parliament in Holyrood, Edinburgh, following Winnie Ewing’s death.PA Media

Her children Fergus and Annabelle are SNP MSPs, with Mr Ewing previously describing his mother as “superhuman”.

Ewing’s family thanked everyone who has sent messages of condolence, and said all are welcome at the service.

A family spokesman said: “We have heard a myriad of anecdotes of happy experiences of Winnie over her long and successful time as MP, MEP and MSP.

“These have been of great comfort to the family.”

A private funeral service was held last month.

Ewing was born in Glasgow in 1929 and gained a law degree from Glasgow University, before being elected to the UK Parliament.

Despite losing the Hamilton seat at the next election in 1970, she was re-elected to Westminster in 1974 for Moray and Nairn, and retained her seat in the second election in October of the same year.

She also served in the European Parliament, representing the Highlands and Islands after losing her Westminster seat in 1979.

She resigned as an MEP in 1999 to stand as a candidate for the new Scottish Parliament, representing the Highlands and Islands until 2003.

Ewing was president of the SNP until 2005 when she stood down from elected office, however, she remained an ardent supporter of the independence cause.

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