Published: 14/10/2017 11:00 - Updated: 13/10/2017 11:45

Touching memories of times with Eilidh

Written byNeil MacPhail


Maggie Wynton
Maggie Wynton with her new book.

A Highland teacher has just launched a book recounting her struggle to raise her disabled daughter and to ensure that she can live independently as an adult.

In Roots, Routes and Wings, Maggie Wynton also reflects on her memories of losing her own mum as a two-year-old.

Maggie (70), of Fortrose, often felt alone as a mother of a disabled child and wanted to write her story explaining just how tough this form of parenting can be.

Maggie’s third child Eilidh was born at just 28 weeks in 1979 and suffered brain damage. When she was a year old, Eilidh was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and Maggie spent many years journeying between a series of hospital appointments, operations and physiotherapy sessions, a route familiar to all those touched by disability.

In 1986, Eilidh, now living in supported accommodation in Inverness, became a minor celebrity being one of the first children from Scotland to visit the Peto Institute in Budapest to benefit from an intensive form of therapy called conductive education.

She was featured in many Scottish newspapers and on BBC news. At this point Maggie started writing about her experiences.

She said: "During Eilidh’s early years I was fuelled by a desire to commit to paper the plethora of experiences we shared as a family coming to terms with a disabled child." 

Maggie, married to Ron for 48 years, added: "Over the years I had also tried to find out more about my mother, who died when I was a young child, and in piecing together this information, I came to write about my life.

"After my dad died, I found a small brown, battered case among his possessions and inside was an amazing miscellany of keepsakes.

"There were photographs, my tonsillectomy bills, the card my mum received from church when she became a member, my mum and dad’s work references, some of the notes from my dad’s accountancy course, letters – many of which they’d written to each other when my mum was in hospital, sympathy cards and the newspaper announcing my mum’s death."

In opening up her dad’s memory box to her readers, Maggie offers a poignant tale that is nostalgic and at times very funny, such as when she describes her childhood fear of her grandpa’s brown painted toilet cubicle that would not have looked out of place in a horror film and was the shadowy haunt of spiders of varying sizes.

A qualified primary teacher, Maggie, nee Campbell who grew up in Fife, hopes her story will inspire those who read it to also record their family memories.

She believes the book will appeal to others who lost a parent in childhood, who coped with having a child with a disability or who simply grew up through the baby boom years, as she did.

Roots, Routes and Wings is published by For the Right Reasons, an Inverness publisher and charity, dedicated to helping people recovering from addictions.

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