A Whitecross couple are prime contenders for the title of ‘Great Scots 2014’ – having taken over the role of mum and dad to three orphans.
Marnie and Ross MacDonald took on the responsibility of bringing up Ross’s brother’s children after tragedy struck.
Ashlea (13), Emily (11) and Sophie (8 lost both parents within 18 months.
Their dad Gary (45) died in 2010, then, four months later, mum Elle was diagnosed with terminal cancer, passing away in October 2011.
The girls grandmother, Myra, was then diagnosed with cancer and also, sadly, lost her battle to the disease.
Marnie (38), from Linlithgow, said: “People keep saying how lucky the girls are to have us but we are the lucky ones.
“They are incredible wee girls and Ross and I feel honoured to have them in our lives.
“I am in total awe of them. No one should have to suffer what they have. Their resilience is inspirational and their strength is amazing.
“They light up every day with their big smiles and cheeky wee faces. We can’t imagine life without them.”
It’s been three years since the Macdonalds took the children under their wing and Marnie admits there have been lots of tears and laughter.
She said: “We don’t want the girls to ever forget their mum and dad and there are lots of photos of them in the house.
“At the beginning, we talked about them all the time but now we let the girls take the lead. They each deal with things in their own way.
“Ashlea had to grow up quickly when Elle got sick as she played mum to the rest and it took her a while to learn to be a kid again.
“Emily is matter of fact about everything and Sophie is everyone’s baby. She was five when Elle died so doesn’t have as many memories.
“It’s been hard at times but we’re getting there. The girls are simply the most wonderful children – loving, energetic, caring and full of fun.”