It was with extreme sadness that the congregation at Cupar Baptist Church learned of the death of Angela Macdonald on 30th December 2012, aged 31.
Born in Paisley. Angela, along with her parents Bill and Morag Macdonald, moved to Pitlochry when she was a mere 4 weeks old, and then moved to Cupar some 14 months later, where her father would take up the pastorate at Cupar Baptist. She was a pupil at Castlehill Primary and Bell Baxter High School.
Having completed her schooling, she went to Edinburgh to study music at Napier University, and then on to complete a years teacher training at Moray House.
Little did Angela think that following her probationary year in Beath High School, Cowdenbeath she would return to the secondary school she went to as a pupil. It was in Bell Baxter High that Angela was a class music teacher for some 6 years.
Angela underwent treatment at Ninewells Hospital and Perth Royal Infirmary for ovarian cancer during 2011. Having been given the all clear, she returned to work at Glenwood High School in Glenrothes, but only weeks after her return to work, the illness had caught up with her again.
Throughout her illness, Angela received many prayers from the congregation and beyond, and as a member of Cupar Baptist her faith gave her a great strength of calm right to the end even making light of chemotherapy by saying, when her hair began to fall out, ‘Worse things can happen. ’
Angela loved life
Bill often joked to people that Angela’s love for life was established at a very early age only when as an infant she thought 3 hours sleep was perfectly adequate, and the fact that her parents eyes increasingly looked like giant pandas was irrelevant!
As Christmas 2011 was spent in hospital, Angela decided to have a group of friends round to her house to celebrate it instead in August 2012! Quite what the neighbours made of Bill and Morag complete with Santa hats singing Christmas carols in the August sunshine is anyone’s guess!
Angela’s exploits in the music department of Bell Baxter are too many to list but she appeared on stage as Dolly Parton, a member of the Village People, a member of Abba, and a fairy!
Angela enjoyed travelling. France, Germany, Holland, Spain, Austria, the Czech Republic, Corsica, Tenerife, USA and Canada are some of the places she visited, not to mention the many places she visited throughout the UK. She climbed mountains in Scotland and Austria; went white water rafting; enjoyed jet-skiing and driving, especially driving fast cars.
Angela loved music
From the age of 4, Angela wanted to be a music teacher and wanted to play the clarinet; through resisting initial attempts to teach her the piano the clarinet was duly forthcoming. Angela was also a competent viola player, though she kept this particular talent quiet.
She could also turn her hand to the saxophone, flute, guitar and drums. Richard Michael, the head of music whilst Angela was at Beath High School, asked her to play the piano for the school choir. No pressure at all, when the guest of honour turned out to be Gordon Brown when he was Prime Minister!
The headteacher at Bell Baxter High School, Philip Black, said Angela would be sorely missed by pupils and staff ‘She was a very able and talented teacher who gave up her time willingly to help with extra-curricular activities to help a lot of children in the school. She was a very dedicated and talented loving member of staff.
She was a member of many musical groups throughout her life, and was an active member of the church band. She was often accompanied by Bill, himself an accomplished pianist and accordionist. Her rendition of Mozart’s clarinet concerto, or the jazz version of ‘Oh when the Saints’ were always in demand.
Whether teaching, arranging or performing, Angela loved music and gave of her very best.
Angela loved people
Angela had many friends, largely attested to by the number that attended her funeral, fellow musicians, teachers, old school and university friends. Angela could relate to people of all ages and backgrounds, and genuinely loved being around people.
'We can only judge a life by the love created’ was the message in one of the cards sent to the Macdonalds. By that measure, Angela was very special; nobody who met Angela was ever sad to have done so.
In her time in hospital over 70 friends visited, and some more than once, from all over Scotland and England.
She was in constant touch, even in hospital, via text message and indeed had complained to Bill that her phone was ‘a bit slow’ only to admit later that some 1,500 texts had been sent between her and one friend, and this may have had a bearing on things!
Angela spent time with her friends eating, travelling and partying with them; it would seem as though whilst on holiday with her friends, she had an adopted sister, brother or nephew.
Angela loved the Lord
Angela accomplished so much with the gifts given to her by God. Central to her life was her faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. This was the anchor around which she built her life.
Angela appreciated and valued the giving of herself for the aid of others, with her life being full of so many worthwhile things.
Angela committed her life to Christ in 1991 when Tony Campolo spoke at a Christian Endeavour Convention in Dunfermline. In June 1999 she was baptised and welcomed into membership to Cupar Baptist Church.
As a student, Angela was involved with the Christian Union, and also with Christian Endeavour in Scotland when she left university. She ran a Scripture Union group in school, and was involved in many camps.
She had a strong faith which sustained her, particularly during her illness. She shared many bible readings and took encouragement from them. She lived out her faith in the way she related to others.
A Life Celebrated
Angela’s funeral took place in Cupar Baptist Church on Tuesday 8th January 2013 and was led by Rev David Paton, then minister at Largo Baptist Church where Bill and Morag were attending as members.
The Rev Brian Talbot, interim moderator during Cupar Baptist’s vacancy and pastor at Broughty Ferry Baptist Church also led part of the service, as well as leading the burial ceremony at Cupar cemetery.
Around 350 people attended Angela's Celebration Service, and this goes some way to show just how loved she was.
Since her death, and in memory of her, one of her former pupils composed, "The Angela Macdonald Two-Step", one of her friends produced a collection of poems, "A Beautiful Collision", she has had at least two concerts in her memory and fundraising for Maggie's Cancer Care Trust, Cancer Research UK (not to mention friends undertaking a New Year dook in the river Tay for Ward 20 at Ninewells) has been undertaken in her name.
The preceding was originally written by Robert Duncan for the Cupar Baptist Church Website and was based on the eulogy from Angela's Funeral.
The Trustees are grateful to Robert for allowing its inclusion here.