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A Significant Medical History

When I was born, it was a complete surprise to my three brothers who were Tom at 20, Robert at 11 and Fraser at 9 years old. They found out I existed when our Dad woke them up that morning and they asked where my Mum was and they were told that she was in hospital having a baby. My Mum was 43 and she was very, very embarrassed at being pregnant and just was not able to break the news to my brothers. So when she brought me home, I don’t think they quite knew what to do with me. However, I was of great advantage to my family just by being born they were able to move from a tenement building in Ibrox to a lovely duplex house up and down stairs with a back and front garden in Nitshill. So I guess that having the addition of a female was of some advantage to the family and I was truly spoiled by the boys.

When I was 5 years old, a very traumatic thing happened. My oldest brother left for Canada and all of us were quite devastated and had only letters to hang on to as he went from Toronto and settled in Vancouver Canada. He then started a process of bringing my family over but my Dad was unable to pass the immigration test because of a heart condition. However eventually, he was able to bring out my brothers and then he brought me to Canada when I was 14 because my parents had once again failed the medical. I lived with him for a year and went back to Glasgow to live with my parents again and eventually came back over to Canada when I was 21. Fortunately, at that time the immigration laws changed and he was able to bring my mum and dad over to retire in Vancouver, Canada and we were at last together as a family.

Over the years of being in Canada from 21 years old to 60 years old, I have loved being a Canadian but I have left part of my heart in Scotland. After marrying a Canadian and having a son, whom I have taken over to my roots from time to time, we have visited Scotland and stayed in touch with my cousins all these years. When he visited the castles in Stirling and Edinburgh, it was difficult to move him quickly through because his fascination for our Scottish history was very strong. I continue to visit every year or two and it is something that feeds my soul. I visit childhood friends and see places that I never saw during my youth because our family only used to go to Butlins in Ayr for vacation. What a wonderful country we have and how lucky I am to continue to see its beauty and charm.

The National Health Service is something we should be very proud of and we should also be very proud of Scotland, our heritage, our culture, our people.

Irene Barr
Vancouver, Canada

Video: Irene sends her best wishes!

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Irene Barr now

Evening News, 5th July 1948 (Click for full size version)
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