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Remembering Mona McManus

Mona was born 5th December 1925 at 18 Charles Street to John and Annie Lyons, she was the 2nd youngest in a family of 2 boys Frances and John, 5 girls Nellie, Nan, Nora, Mona and Margaret. She went to St Ignatius Primary and then on to St Thomas’s. During this time WW2 began and Mona and Margaret were evacuated to Cowpits just outside Musselburgh.  There they saw the first German plane to be shot down on British soil. At 14, Mona started her first job in Alexander’s Store which she absolutely loved, There’s a story she loved to tell about “square toilet roll” relating to her lack of hearing which often got Mona into many a situation.


During the War Mona worked as a Supervisor in the Munitions Factory at Turnhouse which is where her “life education” was finished off!  After the War she worked in City Social Services which started her interest in helping to clothe those that needed it. She was also a youth leader of a girls group at St Francis’ Church in Lothian Street, also known as the Friary, where the Lyons family attended Mass and many social occasions.  The Lyon’s sisters loved to dance and were renowned for being first up on the floor. Mona continued to love to dance throughout her active life and both her and Dan cut a fine rug across the floor at every occasion. Post War Mona went on a holiday in 1951 with 2 sisters and a friend to Paris which in those days was quite adventurous for 4 single Catholic ladies. Mona met Danny at a Catholic Dance (naturally) where her sister Nora also met her future husband Frank who was Danny’s best friend. Mona and Danny married on 20th April 1953 and lived in 2 rooms in Valleyfield Street, They then moved back to Charles Street after her sister Nellie told her there was the chance of a flat on the 1st Floor, which was pretty handy as Nellie and her family lived on the 2nd floor! Both Pauline and Louise were born there.


In 1964 the family moved to South Oxford Street which (funnily enough) was just along the road her sister Nora who lived in Oxford Street. In 1965 Dan’s brother’s 1st wife sadly died leaving a 3 month old baby Ann who lived as a member of Mona and Danny’s family for 12 months.


In 1973 Mona passed her driving test and the one and only time Mona was allowed to drive was when Danny hired a car to go on holiday with Louise and cousin Julia over to sunny Fife to Lundin Links. When they got to the Forth Road Bridge the man had to come out the booth to collect the toll money because she was too far away from the counter. She also managed to give Danny the fright of his life as she nearly ended up through a shop window!


In the 70s Mona returned to work canvassing for the Scotsman which she really enjoyed, she then joined the Evening News Competition Department as a checker for Spot the Ball, where she enjoyed the camaraderie of her fellow colleagues.  She remained there until she retired in 1985.


During this period she developed a love of knitting which she called Quality Seconds, but that didn’t stop her, much to Danny’s dismay as she rummaged for wool in plastic bags in the cupboard behind his chair, to which Danny would shout “MoannAAAA”.


On another holiday in Brighton to attend a wedding they were staying in a hotel. The night they arrived Mona went out to find the toilet, but she opened a room belonging to another people which gave them a bit of a surprise. She found her way back to her room to find that she couldn’t open the door and no amount of knocking woke up Danny who was by this time fast asleep. So Mona found a linen cupboard and some towels and lay on the floor outside the room and continued knocking and shouting “Dan, Dan”, and that’s where Danny found her in the morning


On retiring Mona volunteered for the Jericho Brothers at St Francis’s, by helping to sort clothing for those in need. This then led to Mona baking cakes on a Saturday morning to take to the Jericho men in need, which all members of the family in the production line to decorate butterfly cakes and adding cherries to the top of coconut cakes with Danny often leaving the house to go to work covered in icing sugar! At the time of leaving the Jericho’s Mona asked if she could run the “wee holy shop in the Repository” in her parish of St Columba’s Church which she managed with great enthusiasm. Every now and then Danny, Pauline & Louise would find out that she’d popped through to Glasgow for the day on the bus to source a wee something that she didn’t stock for a parishioner. Older mona

When Danny became ill, Mona nursed Danny at home until his death in January 2000. That same year Mona moved to Greenpark where she made new friends in the new neighbours there and continued running the Repository up to the time of her stroke in September 2005. In 2006 Mona became a resident in Gilmerton Nursing Home. Despite her lack of use of her left side Mona continued to enjoy family life with Pauline and Louise and 3 grandchildren, Emma, Jennifer and Euan. Whilst in the care of Gilmerton she continued to attend Church and immediately felt at home here in St Catherine’s who welcomed her into the parish community with open arms. This was only made possible by Callie and Senga who kindly drove the Home’s minibus. Mona was lucky to enjoy regular visits at the home from her extended family which she held dear, along with visits from friends from St Columba’s. The family would like to acknowledge special thanks to the nurses, carers and staff at Gilmerton who made Mona’s life as full and varied as it could be, where her love of crafts and especially glitter was encouraged, even up to the last days of Mona’s life. Mona’s great desire to go home never diminished and in her final years felt the loss of her parents, brothers and sisters whom she dearly loved and with whom she will now be reunited.

Mona’s faith remained strong throughout her life as did her strong devotion to Our Lady. Mona was a kind, loving and strong lady with a strong spirit and faith. She will be missed by us all.

© St Catherine’s, St John Vianney’s and St Gregory’s are parishes of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh, charity registered in Scotland - SC008540