Sheila Skinner (6 Aug 1925 - 24 Jan 2018)

Funeral Service

Location
MortonhallCrematorium Pentland Chapel Howdenhall Road Edinburgh EH16 6TX
Date
19th Feb 2018
Time
1.30pm
Funeral Director
Scotmid Co-operative Funerals, Fountainbridge

Sheila Chisholm always thought of herself as a Scot born in exile. Born 1925, she was the youngest child of Moray man and motor engineer Farquhar Chisholm and Jeannie Roberton from Inverness. Her parents had moved to York when her father was offered work there after WW1.

Sheila was extremely proud of her Highland roots and her Chisholm name, frequently referring to their importance for her, an emotion that stayed with her right to the end of her days.

Sheila spent her childhood in Hull, attending Hull College of Arts and Crafts from the age of 14 years. Her experience of the tiredness brought on by sleepless nights during the Hull Blitz and the need for early independence while evacuated from home was again a source of discussion into her old age. In Hull she worked on a Red Cross post until she was old enough to join the WRENS where she was trained as an Armourer.

Sheila was posted to HMS Condor based at Arbroath and while there met Jim Skinner, her future husband, who was serving in the Fleet Air Arm.

Sheila and Jim (James Shields Skinner, a Leither) married in 1949 and set up home in Cockenzie where their children Jenny and Chris were born. Later they were to buy a near dilapidated house in Lasswade which they restored themselves. Dundas Cottage was a warm and welcoming home for the family as well as many friends and visitors.

Sheila was a member of the Traverse Theatre Club from its earliest days, and apart from her enjoyment in theatregoing she felt that theatre practitioners, poets and writers were vital in highlighting and exploring important issues in society.

Sheila continued to paint and be creative while bringing up her family and was a frequent contributor to the RSA and SSWA Annual exhibitions. She became involved with craft workshops at Theatre Workshop Edinburgh and from that she developed Skinner’s Puppet Workshops which she and Jenny took to holiday play schemes and arts festivals. This led to her being employed in 1975 by Lothian Region as a puppetry instructor in primary schools for a project to encourage verbal fluency and creativity. She was very proud of this new aspect to her life.

Becoming a grandmother in 1976 made her passionate in wanting to hand on a planet that was more peaceful and just than the world of her childhood. She felt she had a duty to right some of the wrongs that she felt existed at that time. She then became involved with the Charter 88 Democracy Movement and the Green Party.

Sharing a birthday with Hiroshima Day (6th August) was a constant reminder to her of the evils of nuclear weapons hence her support of CND and CATT (Campaign Against the Arms Trade).

She stepped up her campaigning after Jim’s death when in her 70’s. She concentrated on using her sewing skills to make banners for many organisations in the Edinburgh Area. Including CND, CAAT, Peace and Justice, Women In Black, The Green Party, and groups drawing attention to injustice across the world.

Her banners have been at many protest marches including during the G8 Summit in Florence. She even made one to go across the Edinburgh Bypass to let motorist know that nuclear convoys heading to the Clyde Naval Base at Faslane were also using the road.

In her 80’s, no longer able to walk on marches she would be seen on her stool holding an appropriate banner outside the Parliament, on Princes Street, outside BAE Systems at Crewe Toll Edinburgh (the world’s third largest arms producer) or at the start or end of many marches in order to give support and encouragement.

Her family has grown over the years to include grandchildren Ben and Emily, Mark and Katie and great grandchildren Fraser and Lakshmi.

Sadly in later years dementia impacted on her life and for the last three years she has been well cared for at the Salvation Army Home in Colinton.

The family would be really pleased if folk would join them after the cremation at Swanston Brasserie, Swanston Golf Club, 111 Swanston Road, EH10 7DS.

Margaret Ferguson Burns posted a picture

Jenny wearing one of Sheila's bibs, in front of two of Sheila's banners at HM Clyde, Faslane at the Scrap Trident Demonstration Faslane 30 Nov 2014.

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Margaret Ferguson Burns posted a picture

One of Sheila'a bibs worn at protests, featuring her screenprinted Scottish Peace Dove. motif.

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Margaret Ferguson Burns posted a picture

Two of Sheila's banners on the fence at HM Clyde at Faslane for the Scrap Trident Demonstration Faslane 30 Nov 2014

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Arnold Wolk lit a candle
Arnold Wolk wrote

It is hard to relate the impact this wonderful woman’s kindness, courage and friendship had on me so I just won’t bother. I’d have to be a poet. Farewell Sheila we love you.

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Margaret Ferguson Burns posted a picture

Sheila on Calton Hill after the Gude Cause Procession in 2009

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Margaret Ferguson Burns posted a picture

Sheila with daughter Jenny and her friends Zora and Janet on Calton Hill after the Gude Cause Procession in 2009.

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Margaret Ferguson Burns posted a picture

Obituary for Sheila May Skinner (nee Chisholm)

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Ann Keatinge posted a picture

Sheila: mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. Happy memories of Sheila’s birthday celebrations in August.

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Zora King wrote

Very fond memories of a quirky lady who never stopped believing that we can all change the world for the better. Always friendly and welcoming.

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Zora King posted a picture

9th birthday celebrations

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Mark Skinner posted a picture
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Janet Powney wrote

What a privilege to have met Sheila and have stood with her at our Saturday Women in Black Vigils. Even when she had to sit rather than stand, she would still cheerfully engage passers-by to talk about peace and abandoning nuclear weapons.
And such a beautiful smile.

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Comments

  • It was very special standing with Sheila at Women in Black every Saturday at 1pm opposite the Balmoral Hotel, and we miss her! Her huge banner skills made and stitched so perfectly were/are amazing and we will treasure them and hold them on Princes Street with pride for as long as we continue protesting. Bless you dear Sheila and thank you for all your hard work for peace for our children, and for our beautiful earth. Carole Alubaid. A member of Women in Black

    Posted by Carole on 9/02/2018 Report abuse
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Ben Wilson posted a picture

September 2015

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  • A beautiful cheerful photograph. x

    Posted by Margaret Ferguson on 31/01/2018 Report abuse
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Ben Wilson posted a picture

April 2017

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  • This photo is as beautify as it is confronting.

    Posted by Arnold on 12/02/2018 Report abuse
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