MANY ABBEY RETURNS; Great-gran's birthday trip to service for hero Livingstone.
A GREAT-GRAN who shares her birthday with David Livingstone went to a service yesterday to celebrate the explorer's 200th anniversary.
Alice Carroll of Blantyre, Lanarkshire, was invited to the event at Westminster Abbey, London, where the missionary and anti-slavery campaigner is buried.
Her dad was a foreman at the same mill where Livingstone worked as a child. The gran of seven and great-gran of six, who turned 93, said: "It is wonderful to be here. I'm delighted to have been invited. It's a great honour."
Daughter Ann, who travelled to London with her, added: "Livingstone really put Blantyre on the map so we are all big fans.
"My mum has lived in the town, across the road from the David Livingstone Centre museum, all her life. Our family came to Scotland from Ireland and my grandfather worked in the mill as a foreman.
"Obviously it was years after Livingstone was there, but with mum sharing the same birthday as Livingstone as well, there are a few family connections, so it is fantastic we were invited."
Alice is a constituent of Blantyre MP Tom Greatrex, who helped organise the service.
He said: "I am delighted Mrs Carroll was able to join me at the abbey service, and the fact it was her 93rd birthday made it extra special.
"I had the chance to visit her before she travelled down and it was a pleasure to hear stories about her father and family's close ties to the Livingstone story.
"It was great Blantyre was represented by different generations of local people - from Mrs Carroll to Scouts who acted as ushers, showing the relevance of Livingstone's legacy to this day.
"Livingstone's contributions to geographic and scientific knowledge, his championing of education and fair trade, and his passionate campaign against slavery made him a hero in Britain and Malawi in the 19th century."
Alice, Ann and Greatrex were also accompanied by former first minister Jack McConnell.
BIG DAY J Aliceand Ann with Greatrex and McConnell at Westminster Abbey
EXPLORER J Livingstone