June Paterson-Brown

Doctor and Scotland's first female lord lieutenant

Born: 8 February, 1932, in Edinburgh.

Died. 6 December, 2009 in Hawick, aged 77.

IN A varied career, Dr June Paterson-Brown was a doctor and a champion of family planning and well woman clinics – particularly in her native Hawick. She was also chief commissioner of the Girl Guides for Scotland, the UK and the Commonwealth, a non-executive director of Border TV, a trustee of the MacRobert Trust and a former vice-chairwoman of the Prince's Trust. Paterson-Brown was also chairwoman of the Border Region's Children's Panel Advisory Committee and in all these capacities she demonstrated a genuine commitment to the community, the sick and her own family. Her zest for life and love of the Borders made her a popular and much-admired figure throughout the area.

Indeed, in recognition of her contribution to the Borders, Paterson-Brown became, in 1988, the Queen's representative for Roxburghe, Ettrick and Lauderdale – the first female lord lieutenant in Scotland – when the Duke of Buccleuch retired. It was on the duke's personal recommendation that Paterson-Brown succeeded him. At the time she admitted she was "astonished" and said: "I was shocked and didn't think I was suited or qualified for the position. For a start I told him I was just an ordinary person and didn't have any aristocratic roots or a military background."

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She did, however, accept the post and served as lord lieutenant with enthusiasm and devotion. Christine McLeod, who knew Paterson-Brown through the Girl Guides for 40 years, said: "As lord lieutenant June displayed a grand mixture of dedication, care and courtesy, but always had a smile to put people at their ease. Despite all the recognition she gained away from Hawick we felt she was still ours."

June Paterson-Brown was the daughter of Wing Commander Thomas Garden CA and attended Esdale College in Edinburgh – which was evacuated to Ayton Castle in Berwickshire during the Second World War. She was brought up in Merchiston Gardens and read medicine at the Edinburgh Medical School.

After graduating in 1955 she worked as a junior houseman attached to Professor Sir John Learmonth's unit at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. In 1956 she transferred to East Fortune Hospital and witnessed the improved treatment of tuberculosis patients.

After a short period as a GP in Tollcross she married Dr Peter Paterson-Brown in 1957 and they moved to Hawick, where he joined a general practice.

Paterson-Brown was a pioneer of family planning clinics in Hawick and Galashiels and was closely associated with the Well Woman clinic.

Family planning was a sensitive issue in the early 1960s and when Paterson-Brown ran the clinics she began her lecture with the lights off so those attending would not be recognised. She delivered her talks with lights on the blackboard, where the facts of life were described. In fact, she went into labour with her third child during one of these sessions.

One of Paterson-Brown's passions was the Girl Guides movement in Scotland. She was a Brownie and a Guide and became district commissioner for Hawick North in 1963. In 1969 she was appointed county commissioner for Roxburghshire, a post she held for eight years. She was Scottish chief commissioner from 1977-82 and became chief commissioner for the UK and Commonwealth in 1985. In 1989 she was awarded the Silver Fish, which is the highest award in Guiding, given for exceptional service over 30 years.

Lorna Reid, the current Guides county commissioner for Roxburghshire, said: "June allowed the Hawick Guides to camp and have events in her garden – always joyful and special occasions. June was an exceptional and special lady who has done so much for Guiding and always had time for every member of the organisation, from the youngest Rainbow to the oldest member."

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One of her most imaginative achievements with the Guides was persuading top clothes designer Jeff Banks to update the uniform using the best of the youngsters' own designs. Some traditionalists believed the sweatshirts and polo shirts looked scruffy on parade, but the girls loved it – and, as Paterson-Brown commented: "They're the most important part of the movement."

After their marriage the Paterson-Browns had an agreement: she would learn to play golf if her husband learned to ski. So family holidays were spent at their cottage near Golspie playing golf there and on Brora or, in the winter, skiing abroad or at Aviemore. Paterson-Brown also golfed at Vertish Hill in Hawick and The Roxburghe near Kelso. She stopped skiing in 1992 after she fractured her femur in France and had to be helicoptered to hospital. Notwithstanding such a break, the following year she and her husband cycled from John o' Groats to Land's End and raised 12,500 for charity.

In recognition of her contribution to the Borders Paterson-Brown was made the Tweeddale Press Group's "Man of the Year" in the 1980s. "I wasn't annoyed it was man of the year and not lady," she said. "I'm not a feminist and it was simply the title of the award." Significantly, and typically, she added: "What's important is what you do in the post."

When she was appointed lord lieutenant she was similarly forthright. "As far as I'm concerned being called lord lieutenant or lady lord lieutenant makes no difference to me."

June Paterson-Brown is survived by her husband, three sons and a daughter.