No longer in our lives to share. But in our hearts you’re always there.
  • 64 years old
  • Born on June 15, 1954 in Edinburgh, United Kingdom.
  • Passed away on March 21, 2019 in Edinburgh, United Kingdom.

On Thursday, 21st March, 2019, Alison Dorothy Leitch Macvean, loving wife, mother, and grandmother, passed away at the age of 64, surrounded by her family.

Alison was born on the 15th of June, 1954, in Edinburgh, to Walter and Effie Temple. Talented academically throughout childhood and into secondary education, Alison graduated with a degree in Dietetics from Queen Margaret College, after which she spent most of her working life as a practicing dietician throughout Scotland, at one stage serving as deputy chief dietician at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. Alison married Peter Macvean, and together they raised two sons, Andrew and Stephen.

Alison was a people person, an attentive and caring wife, mother, and friend who would go out of her way for anyone. Despite having her hands full raising a family of boys, Alison found time for a prodigious number of hobbies. Alison was fiercely determined, excelling at whatever she turned her mind to. A passionate cook and baker, many will remember with fondness a past birthday or occasion celebrated with one of her home baked cakes. Many houses have also been adorned, and children warmed, by her knitting and sewing. She recently took great pride in the woolen sweaters and hats made for her first grandchild. In early life, Alison was a talented ballet dancer and later volleyball player. In later life, when she wasn’t beating family at mini-golf tournaments, her great passion was long walks in the Scottish countryside. Alison had a love for travel, which took her around the world. Although she enjoyed visiting distant places, her greatest adventures were closer to home, where she took great pride in exploring and learning about Scotland, in the company of family and friends. Somehow, she also found spare time for various other pursuits including attending the Scottish ballet, singing in a choir, landscape art, attending musical concerts and giving back to the community via volunteer work at the food bank, or Water of Leith visitor center.

Alison’s legacy will live on through the incredible number of people and lives she has touched. She maintained friendships from all walks of life, from high-school, college, colleagues, and more. Fuelled by her kindness, selflessness, and thoughtfulness, she worked hard to ensure these friendships endured many years. Generous with her time, wit, wisdom and often strong opinions, she has kept many on the right path. Whether imparting advice, writing her famous comedy poems, or simply providing a listening ear, many have benefited from her friendship. Despite being dealt some difficult cards, Alison remained positive, up beat, and lived life to the fullest. She was and will remain an inspiration to many.

Alison was preceded in death by her father Walter, and mother Effie. She is survived by husband Peter, their two children Andrew and Stephen, her daughter-in-law Meredith, grandchild Olive, brother Douglas, and several cousins, nieces, and nephews. All who will miss her dearly, but carry on her spirit.

A funeral service will be held on Thursday, April 18th, 2019 at Mortonhall Crematorium at 12 o’clock pm. The service will be followed by a continued honouring and celebration of her life at Charwood Restaurant. Family flowers only, please. In lieu of flowers, donations are welcome to Breast Cancer Scotland.

We would like to pay special thanks to all the family and friends who played such a pivotal role in Alison’s life, and the outpouring of support we have received since her passing. We would also like to extend a thanks to the medical staff at the Western General, who fought hard with her and ensured she remained comfortable and maintained dignity throughout.

Finally, we would greatly appreciate if all friends and family could share their favorite stories, memories, pictures, and lessons learned from Alison, so we can continue her memory.


Posted by Lesley Allison on April 18, 2019
I met Alison at college where we studied dietetics and was privileged to be her friend ever since . That we kept in touch and met up regularly is down to Alison and I will miss our chats and laughs more than I can say . She was an inspiration , never complaining despite going through difficult times and remaining cheerful and positive . She loved her family and was so proud of her boys and baby Olive was such a joy to her . Alison will be missed by everyone who knew her but I know everyone will have many great memories as indeed I have and that she will be remember with love
Posted by Fiona Watt on April 17, 2019
Alison & I met while we were both on treatment in ward 1, WGH. It took a few treatments for us to start talking as Alison mentioned later she usually chose to read her book & observe. I feel very lucky to have met such a good friend to share the challenges, fun & celebration in our lives over last seven years. Alison & I so enjoyed exploring Edinburgh’s restaurants having early supper & a glass of wine after treatment. These early evenings chatting, putting world to rights, laughing & sharing our lives I so appreciated. Alison’s humour, wit, thoughtfulness & common sense in our chats & WhatsApp messages I will so miss. Her delight of becoming a grandma to Olive I so enjoyed sharing as we were both grannies-in-waiting together. I loved the lovely photos of Olive in grandma’s knitted jumpers. We had planned to change our post treatment catch ups slightly to allow us to shop for granddaughter outfits! Thank you so much Alison for your friendship, wisdom, wit, laughter & understanding. Forever missed... ❤️❤️ all my love Fiona Thinking of Pete, Andrew, Stephen, Meredith & Olive
Posted by Valerie Fulkerson on April 17, 2019
The summer of 2011 brought Alison, Pete & Stephen to the states to partake in the wedding festivities of Andrew & Meredith. It was a happy occasion we all enjoyed. Alison had such a sense of style and was stunning in her purple brocade suit at the wedding. I recall her having so much fun on the dance floor during the reception. Meeting Alison for the first time was like being reacquainted with an old friend. She was friendly, easy to talk with, quick to show her sense of humor and fun-loving. It didn't take long to observe that her family was priority and that Andrew & Stephen were her pride and joy. Her magnetic pull gave us a quick bond from the wedding to the next 7 years. We exchanged routine Facebook private messages to stay in touch. She'd tell of her various travels with her girlfriends and as I read each line, I imagined being there laughing and joining in the fun. Her retirement gave her the opportunity to volunteer in the community, which I could tell was meaningful. It also afforded her the time to provide care to family members who needed it. Such a loyal and dedicated lady to those she loved. Stories of Pete delivering flowers were some of my favorites as we laughed together via those private messages. I am forever grateful for the time Alison and I spent together and she will remain in my heart. I promise to keep her memory alive and to tell wee Olive Eilidh all about her Grandma. Deep in our hearts a memory is kept, Of one we loved and shall never forget. With love, gratitude and deep sympathy, Valerie
Posted by Pamela Stoughton on April 16, 2019
I am honored to have met Alison and Pete during their visit to the States for Andrew’s marriage. Alison’s strength, intellect, warm nature and zest for the things she enjoyed shone through as readily as her smile and wit. I particularly liked our conversation about differences in our countries’ food and cooking. Tom joins me in extending condolences to all of Alison’s family, with special thoughts and prayers to Pete, Andrew and Stephen. “When you lose someone you love, you gain an angel you know.” With love and sympathy, Pam Stoughton
Posted by Alison Heath on April 16, 2019
We met as new students at Queen Margaret and became friends for life. My name, the combination of Temple offspring given names, was a novelty to Effie & Walter who always gave me a warm welcome at Caiystane Gardens. At College, it was usual for Alison, a very proud Auntie, to have a funky, creative piece of knitting on the go for the next generation of Temples as they arrived. I remember only one episode of tension between us when we both bought the same chenille jacket from a trendy Frederick St boutique. Sharing a name was one thing but to have encroached on her personal sense of style was a step too far! In the heady days of 70's student life in Embra, we were disco buddies. Our danceable solution to teenage revolution continued in Leeds where Alison survived a placement at the General. On one of our nights out, Alison met her Brian Ferry, tall, dark and handsome. This was someone I'd last seen in short trousers at Primary school in Largs, what were the chances?! The photographic evidence of Peter in short trousers was all Alison needed to make the decision that he would be the father of her children. Student days over, with proper jobs and partners, we met on holiday jaunts to Jersey, France & Dorset while I was living in Hampshire & Avon. When we met, time melted away. Alison knitted for my offspring before her boys arrived, as cute as their father's school photo had predicted. She had the perfect jiggle to comfort a wee one having had more practice than most with her nieces & nephew. She'd kept her hand in with Theo & luckily, on her last visit to us, we had one for her to jiggle and to her delight, a couple of pieces of her handiwork from back in the day. Her thoughtfulness and generosity abounded and her handmade gifts were precious confirmation of her friendship. Alison always stepped up for her family, dealing with eldercare whilst coping with the reality of her life changing diagnosis. She didn't shy from making difficult calls or confidently asserting her case. Her courage was amazing and understated, she kept calm and carried on helping, sharing, caring, loving, dancing, travelling, laughing and being a brilliant friend. When nothing was sure for her, everything was possible. Proud of her growing family and her city, she shared so much and has left us all with very special fond memories
Posted by Anne Payne on April 16, 2019
Alison and I met as research dietitians with the Cardiovascular Research Unit at Edinburgh University, in 1993. We worked together for 3 years and remained close friends for the subsequent 23 years. Once you met Alison she quickly became a necessary part of life, such was her warmth, generosity and kindness of spirit. Alison has been there for me through many difficult times over the years, imparting her no nonsense brand of wisdom with humour and very often, a stiff gin. I loved her sense of style, always chic. No flowery tops for Alison. She so loved her family and, yes, was rightly proud of her 3 boys and first grandchild. The world seems a little bit empty without her.
Posted by Ellen Nesfield on April 14, 2019
It's often the case in life that it's not until we miss someone that we realise just how amazing they were. That was not the case with Alison. You knew every step of the way just how fortunate/privileged you were to be in the company of such an amazing lady. Yet words escape me. But when I think of my dear, dear friend and neighbour, for so many years, words foremost are: elegant, stoic, inspiring, understanding, principled and intelligent with a wonderful, sharp sense of humour that never failed.......... We never did get our gin bench organised amidst the daffodils over the road, but we did manage a few tipples kerbside watching the boys wave from six meters atop the Leylandii!
Posted by Fiona McOwan on April 12, 2019
I am a second cousin to Alison and we played together as children and followed each other's working pattern, loves and lives mainly through our first cousin parents, Christmas cards and so on. But we had a lovely meet up again as grannies, and the years just evaporated away. Forever missed indeed.
Posted by Alexa Brain on April 7, 2019
Alison worked as an invigilator for the British Council on the International English Language Training system (IELTS) exams. She was a great colleague and over the months and years also became a friend. We shared many giggles and laughs at the antics of the students and it was a way of keeping in touch with young people which in turn kept us young! She was so proud of her boys and shared many photos of them with us. I know she was very much looking forward to seeing wee Olive. We had planned to meet up in Glasgow at a European restaurant to pay tribute to Brexit however it never happened ( and at time of writing Brexit hasn't happened either!) We will miss her and on behalf of al your colleagues at the British Council Alison, thank you, you certainly did a good job!
Posted by Foodbank Kadies on March 30, 2019
We met Alison through the NW Edinburgh Foodbank. When I arrived Alison and Jane were ‘old hands’. Alison was always cheerful, down-to-earth and practical; plain-speaking but never rude or unkind. My sort of person – happy to follow the processes/ rules but not tied to them if they were impractical or just daft. Tuesday mornings were always fun making up food boxes, dating the donated food and teasing Jane when she pitched up late again (she was never ‘that’ late, but it was fun pulling her leg). The 3 of us would have some lively discussions about anything and everything. When I went back to work at the end of 2014 I had to stop volunteering, but Alison, Jane & I formed the Foodbank Kadies Dinner Club, meeting up every couple of months. Alison would always tell us how the family was getting on – Pete and the ‘boys’. She was so proud of you all and absolutely delighted with the news of baby Olive. She was a lovely person. Our last dinner was in January when she was in great spirits and seemed so well despite everything. We were supposed to meet up on 19th March, but it wasn’t to be. We will miss her terribly. Kirsty (& Jane)

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