Tributes have been paid to a former primary school teacher and Labour Party stalwart from Johnstone who has died at the age of 88.

Sheila Ferguson, whose late husband was the last Provost of Johnstone, passed away at the Royal Alexandra Hospital, in Paisley, on July 3 after battling pancreatic cancer.

Her son, Andrew, paid tribute to his mum’s love of life and genuine concern for the wellbeing of local families through her work as a teacher at Cochrane Castle Primary for 25 years.

He told The Gazette: “She knew all the children and their parents and always wanted the best for them.

“As a caring and dedicated teacher, she thought the world of them all. It could be a rough catchment area but she thought very highly of the parents who wanted to do the best for their kids and they were always keen to help out at the school.

“Everybody in Johnstone knew her. She could hardly walk down the High Street without people saying hello or stopping for a chat.

“She was very outgoing and willing to give good advice to anyone who wished it. She will be greatly missed by all.”

Sheila, originally from Chesterfield, started a new life north of the border after getting married to Andrew Ferguson at the age of 20.

Andrew, who passed away in December 1997, had a lifetime’s dedication to the Labour movement and local politics, being the last Provost of Johnstone before the reorganisation of local government.

Sheila soon became a hard-working member of the Party after her marriage and provided valuable behind-the-scenes support to her husband.

Her long association with Labour was recognised earlier this year when former Paisley MP and Cabinet Minister Douglas Alexander presented her with a long-service plaque signed by party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Labour councillor John Hood paid tribute to Sheila this week, saying: “She was one of our most wonderful members and a stalwart of the party.

“She was a beautiful person and it is hard to get them like that these days. She was one of the best people I knew.”

With husband Andrew working as an insurance agent, the couple got to know first hand the needs and problems of Johnstone in the days of the Burgh Council.

They played important roles in the Labour Party campaign to extend the town with the building of new council housing estates, extending Johnstone’s boundary and taking in overspill people from Glasgow.

Sheila also supported Andrew in his role as a councillor on Strathclyde Regional Council, where he campaigned for the construction of the Johnstone bypass, despite local objections.

Sheila is survived by sons Andrew and Graham, daughters Linda and Shona and four grandchildren.

Her funeral will take place at the Martyr’s Chapel at Woodside Crematorium, in Paisley, on Wednesday, July 17, starting at 2.30pm.