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Betty McDonald 1929 – 2014

A fine interpreter of traditional songs from her native area, Scotland and the US, South Shields born Betty passed away on 13 October 2014.

With Norman, her late husband (d.2005), a fellow 'Geordie', she was popular at festivals all over the UK and her deep knowledge and affection for the US tradition was much appreciated on their frequent American tours. Twelve years in Scotland gave her an insight into the Scottish tradition, while her rhythmic banjo accompaniments and easy, generous nature endeared her to listeners everywhere.

Her later life was spent in Gloucestershire, but she and Norman were early researchers and singers of 'Geordie' material and while they often stayed in the background, this research has become a valuable, if somewhat unappreciated, part of the thriving traditional scene in North-East England in 2014. Her singing style was gentle, entertaining and well-informed, as those lucky enough to have heard her and Norman will confirm. Listen to their CD, Doon The Lang Stairs (2000) - a classic collection of North Eastern songs - as evidence of this.

Her life, and essentially that of her childhood sweetheart Norman, was celebrated with friends and family in her adopted Thornbury, near Bristol, with many a song on 28 October, so here's to a lovely, kind, warm-hearted lady, we'll all miss you. R.I.P Betty.

Jim Bainbridge