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Caroline Cooper – Ullapool Lay Vice Chair of Vestry

I was born and brought up in Helensburgh. After graduating from Strathclyde University, I moved South to Abingdon where I worked as an Information Officer/Librarian at what was then the Science Research Council’s Rutherford Laboratory. It was there I met my future husband who was one of the scientific research staff. When a student at Strathclyde I worked for one summer vacation in Ullapool for the Scobie family and that is how I came to know Ullapool. My husband who was a keen climber/hill walker had never been to this part of Scotland before so I introduced him to this lovely area and we ended up spending all our family holidays here. Both our boys first went up Stac Pollaidh in baby carriers on my back before they were able to scramble up themselves!

In the early 2000’s we discussed the possibility of eventually coming to live here, and in the Autumn of 2004 we did just that! Our older son went off to Warwick University and our younger son started High School in Ullapool. My husband had retired apart from some post grad teaching which he was able to continue remotely and I was planning on becoming a lady of leisure as I thought it unlikely I would be able to continue my professional employment here. How wrong I was!  I found myself working for the next eight years – first in the Support for Learning Department of the High School then for six years as the Community School Librarian.

My church background is pretty varied. As a family we were members of the Helensburgh Baptist Church (although my parents had been brought up as Free Church) and I was baptised there when I was a teenager. When I was in Glasgow, I attended the Hillhead Baptist Church and on moving to Abingdon I became a member of Trinity Church which was a joint Methodist & United Reformed church. While there I assisted the Treasurer, helped run the local Cub Pack and was a choir member. After we were married, we moved to Oxford and I was a member of the United Reformed Church, first in Summertown, then in Cumnor. I contributed to worship in both churches including serving at communion and acting as Treasurer for the Cumnor United Reformed Church. It was a chance meeting with a near neighbour out at Rhue that brought me to St. Mary’s Ullapool and here I stayed! Apart from being a regular reader or intercessor I also conduct lay services and more recently have become part of the Reserved Sacrament team. In 2020, I became the Lay Vice Chair of the Vestry. It is a privilege to be a member of this little church community. Ullapool is a great place to live and there are many opportunities to contribute to the community. I am involved with both the Museum and Traidcraft, and am a community member of the Macphail Committee which oversees the Macphail Centre. I am also a member of the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) invigilators team covering Ullapool High School. I run the Ullapool Reading Group and enjoy attending the Ullapool Book Festival. I also love music and I help organise our ecumenical group of singers who regularly contribute to the St. Mary’s Nine Lessons and Carols service as well as the joint churches Easter Praise Service.

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