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Church of Scotland
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Pensioner honoured by church for 102 years of service

by Press Association

Sheila Wyles, 104, has been closely associated with the Kirk family in Perth and Kinross since being taken as a young child in 1916.

More than a century later, Mrs Wyles is now the oldest active Church of Scotland Guild member in the country.


Moderator of the Church of Scotland Rt Rev Susan Brown described the pensioner as an "amazing lady and a true inspiration".

Mrs Wyles said she was "very proud" to have been given a special long service award by Mrs Brown last week.

"I never thought I would reach this milestone," Mrs Wyles said.

"I first went to Sunday school in Methven when I was two and when I was 14 my mother took me to Guild work party meetings.

"I have been involved with the Guild since then and have enjoyed it very much - it is a way of life and a big support in times of difficulty - and to be honest I do not like missing meetings."

Born on July 6, 1914, just ahead of the outbreak of the First World War, Mrs Wyles grew up in Methven outside Perth and served in the Home Guard Auxiliary during the Second World War.

She credits her long life to her strong Christian faith and supportive friends and family.

But she has lived through heartbreak, losing her husband Albert in the early 1960s and their daughter Rachel died of lupus in 2001 at the age of 51.

She threw herself into fundraising for research into the systemic autoimmune disease when her daughter was diagnosed, raising thousands of pounds over the years.

Mrs Wyles, who used to sing in the church choir and played the organ, said she has a lot to be thankful for.

"I do not think I would have survived without the church," she said.

"I have had a very happy life.

"There have been ups and downs, but more happy times than sad times.

"My faith has kept me going, along with my three families - my nieces Morag and Kathleen, my Perth North Church family, and my Guild family."


Mrs Wyles last attended a meeting at her church a few weeks ago, and was at the Guild Annual Gathering in Dundee's Caird Hall in September.

She described it as an "irreplaceable part" of her life, adding: "If I have been able to help people in any way, it has been my privilege."

Janice Taylor, convener of Perth and Kinross Guilds Together, said they are very proud of their "grand old dame".

She said: "Her service to the Guild is second to none, she is an inspiration to everyone who knows her.

"Whatever difficulties and problems she has had in her life, her faith has shone though.

"When people visit Sheila, they leave feeling they have been cheered up instead of the other way round.

"We are so very proud that she is our oldest member in Scotland."

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