THERE was a big attendance at the funeral service for a well-loved Largs woman this week.

Tributes were paid to Arlene Macdonald, who died after a short illness, aged 71, on October 10.

Alan Saunderson, the officiant at Largs and Garnock Valley Crematorium, told the gathering of former pub landlady Arlene's globe-trotting life.

Born in Liberton in Edinburgh in 1948, she suffered early tragedy when, at only three, her mother Gladys died, leaving her to be brought up by father Bill Muir and sisters Annette and Linda.

After education at Leith Academy, Arlene joined her sisters in a singing group which played in the city pubs and clubs and in the open air stage in Princes Street Gardens.

In a colourful early career, she was the racing greyhound trainer for the Duke of Buccleuch at his Dalkeith estate.

With her former husband Billy she had a son, Keith, and the family moved to Philadelphia in the USA ,where she worked as an alcohol counsellor with the US Navy. She then relocated to Boston where she worked as a dental assistant.

On returning to Scotland, Arlene settled in Largs where she worked in the Overdraught Bar (now Sharps) in Nelson Street, and became the popular manager of DJ's pub (now Macauleys) in Main Street.

Although she only had one son, the service heard that many of the regular customers looked on her as part of their family.

One of them, Billy Jack, spoke for her 'boys' recounting tales of her famous 'Stovies' dish and recalling the many musical events and folk festivals she visited, leading mass singalongs wherever she went with her sparkling personality.

He added: "She will be sorely missed."

Mr Saunderson told how Arlene met Ian Macdonald 20 years ago and they were eventually married in 2017, providing her with new children and grandchildren. Tour guide Ian organised trips all over the UK but they also visited Australia, New Zealand - where Keith emigrated to - and, of course, the USA, including Alaska.

On behalf of the family, her cousin Paul McKean paid tribute saying that he had come back from Spain to spend the last days with Arlene in hospital, where she had passed 'with a smile and a kiss'.

At the crematorium committal the classical music of Air on a G String was played. A collection was taken for Cancer Research.