Kirk member vaccinated on 108th birthday in church

A Kirk member has been vaccinated on her 108th birthday in the church which she has regularly attended since she was a child.

Mrs Dawson receiving her vaccine on her 108th birthday at Houston and Killelan Kirk
Mrs Dawson received her vaccine on her 108th birthday at Houston and Killellan Kirk.


Mrs Marion Dawson, who is also an active member of the Guild and thought to be Scotland's third oldest person, received the coronavirus vaccine when Houston and Killellan Kirk was opened as a temporary vaccination site by the local GP surgery.

Born in 1913, she has lived through two World Wars as well as the Spanish flu pandemic.

After receiving her vaccination, Mrs Dawson said: "I'm glad it's past. I never felt a thing!"

The church was approached by the NHS because it is sited next door to the local surgery and could offer a suitable space for the vaccination programme.

Rev Gary Noonan, who is the minister of Houston and Killellan Kirk, described Mrs Dawson as a "local treasure".

"Until the lockdown she never missed a week at church. It's fitting she can get her vaccine in the Kirk, a place she loves," he said.

"The Church should be at the very heart of communities so I'm delighted we can offer our building to assist in this national effort. I encourage everyone to get the vaccine and help bring the hope that will allow us to gather safely once more.

"It's important to stress that while our building has been closed, the Church has very much been open. Our services are online every week, and even at 108 Mrs Dawson has managed to join them.

"We have had our weekly coffee morning, a music group, a local mental health peer support group and Bible studies, all online. We've supported local schools and we have volunteers willing to collect shopping, prescriptions or call people.

"We've had amazing support from the local community and together we collected a huge amount of food for the local foodbank as well as warm clothes for homeless people this winter.

"At Advent we worked with our Roman Catholic friends at St Fillans and had a nativity trail around the village which was viewed over 2,500 times.

"It's so important for me that the Church is at the very heart of our community and no one is left behind."

Mrs Marion Dawson with Rev Gary Noonan celebrating her 107th birthday last year in church.
Mrs Marion Dawson with Rev Gary Noonan celebrating her 107th birthday last year in church.

Dr Fisher, a partner at Strathgryffe Medical Practice, who administered the vaccine said: "We are so excited to be starting our vaccinations of our over 80's population here in the church within the heart of Houston and that our first patient to be vaccinated is doing so on her birthday, so it's a really great start to our campaign."

Dr Mark Storey, practice partner and one of the vaccination team said: "It's been a very difficult year in General Practice and society as a whole.

"In our practice we have a family of 10,000 patients, so we are delighted to start vaccinating, especially with Mrs Dawson," he said.

"Happy Birthday, Mrs Dawson!"

Offering your church

Whilst congregations may wish to offer their halls for the vaccination programmes not all buildings will be suitable. Congregations can offer their support by emailing offersofsupport.vaccine@gov.scot

It is vital that congregations expressing an interest to the Scottish Government also contact the Law Department at the same time as there are likely to be complex contractual discussions that require to take place.