Farewell to much-loved Motherwell swimming champ and businesswoman Chris Wilson

A former Scottish swimming champion and well-known Motherwell businesswoman has passed away aged 102.

Chris Wilson (nee Bowman) will always be remembered in the town as the first lady to bring the Scottish Cup to the town for the 440 yards freestyle, a Scottish record that stood for 25 years.

The former Dalziel High School-turned-silk factory worker was also famed for her drapery business which dated back to 1960 with a shop in Airbles Street.

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Her firm grew so quickly that enterprising Mrs Wilson had to move to a larger store in Windmillhill Street where she continued in business, retiring at the age of 71.

Here she always seemed to have the knack of knowing what her customers wanted and often stayed open late on Christmas Eve so families could pick up items like dolls houses and train sets that she had ordered in for them.

Mrs Wilson will also be remembered as part of a dynamic and happily married couple – after marrying James Wilson, a lecturer in engineering at Motherwell College, who was also a well-known local artist.

The couple owned a holiday home in Dalbeattie and then moved on to owning a chalet in Aberlour where the couple bought a boat and enjoyed sailing along with her younger brother Bill.

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After her husband suffered a number of strokes, Mrs Wilson dedicated her time to taking care of him before he passed away.

She stayed active in Dalziel St Andrew’s Parish Church where she was a guild member for 50 years and was also a keen member of Motherwell Heritage Society.

In fact, the society which threw a party to celebrate her 100th birthday in 2016. The celebration was attended by her many friends and relatives from as far away as Canada and the United States.

During her lifetime, Mrs Wilson battled cancer successfully and always kept a positive attitude.

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Although she did not have any children of her own, Mrs Wilson always took a keen interest in the lives of her brother’s three daughters, Elizabeth, Marian, Christine and their families.

A service to celebrate Mrs Wilson’s life will be held at Dalziel St Andrew’s Church on Thursday, November 7, at 10.30am, which will be followed by an internment at Airbles Cemetery. The mourners will then retire to the church hall for a reception.

The congregation has been thanked by the family for its support as has Muirpark Care Home in Viewpark where staff helped Mrs Wilson with great care in her last weeks.

A number of loving tributes were paid in the Motherwell Times guestbook under a notice of her passing – from saddened friends and family from across the Atlantic.

They are included below:

October 27, 2019

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Chrissie was a remarkable person by any measure, and the fact that she was able to maintain a connection with the lives of my two boys and I, often through our annual exchange of Christmas cards (which incredibly she would still hand-write even past her 100th birthday) is a testimony to her engagement and love that she shared with her extended family of relatives throughout Canada and the U.S. She was famous in our family for her incredible memory, and her ability to vividly recall with amazing detail events that had taken place decades earlier, she could even tell you what sweater you were wearing and where you were sitting during that particular drive into the Laurentian hills north of Montreal in the Fall of 1973. I will miss her very much, and am saddened by the thought that come early December (or even early November on some years), there will be no Christmas card with suitably wintry scene appearing in my letterbox with all of her news from Motherwell.

Bruce, James and Ryan Ford

Ottawa, Canada

October 26, 2019

Sending love and hugs from London, Canada. I have many fond memories of Chrissie especially of the time I spent with her while attending Jordanhill College, Glasgow, in 1993-94. My husband and I will miss receiving her hand written Christmas card this year. Thinking of all the family in Scotland. Love,

Heather (Bowman) and Joel Stilson

October 26, 2019

We celebrate Chrissy’s life as she was special and one of a kind. What a wonderful long and special life and to reach almost 103 years.

We remember you Chrissy and our great visits in Motherwell as well as your visits to Canada and the USA.


The Bowman Family

Scott Bowman, Buffalo, NY. USALIGHT A

October 23, with lots of love Grace and Emily XX


October 23, 2019

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Dear Chris, as your close neighbours and friends of 37 years we are going to miss you so much. We’ll miss your amazing ability to remember everyone who had been a part of your life whether great or small.We’ll miss your stories, chat, sense of humour( we had many laughs together), your phone calls for one of us to help with many and varied tasks, especially as your eyesight was failing. We’ll miss your kindness, your thoughtfulness and the pleasure you got from giving. We’ll miss bringing in the bells with you at New Year when your energy seemed boundless and we’d often chat for hours. You were an incredible lady and we loved you so much. You were a huge part of our lives and for that we are thankful. You’ll always be in a special place in our hearts. Rest in peace dear Chris. With love from Liz, Ian, Scott, Jennifer,Ben, Harry, Philip and Samxx

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