Obituary: Respected Lanarkshire lawyer and publisher Sara Theresa Givens


Respected lawyer and publisher, Miss Sara Theresa Givens MA, LL.B. – who was universally known as Trixi – died peacefully, aged 91, at her cottage home on Hamilton Road, Motherwell.

She was a familiar figure at what is the oldest continuously inhabited residence in the district.

Trixi was born on September 2, 1930, at Airdrie House maternity home (demolished 1963), which was located on a site now occupied by Monklands General.



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She lived in the tenement building at 157, Craigneuk Street, Wishaw above the family owned public house – the Beehive Bar.

Trixi was the youngest of three siblings in the union of two distinguished families.

Her father, Joseph Patrick Givens was highly respected in legal circles. A qualified solicitor, he was appointed Sheriff Clerk Depute at Lanark in 1932, making him one of the first Roman Catholics to receive a senior appointment in the Sheriff Court service in Lanarkshire. He was also the founder president of the Catenians Association in Motherwell. He died suddenly in 1940 at the age of 53.

Trixi’s mother, Jane McParlane was a native of Coatbridge. She had family connections with the East End Bar (known locally as Traynors). In her lifetime de ella she was associated with the Glencairn Bar in Rutherglen, the Beehive and latterly, the Bullfrog in Muirhouse, Motherwell, the first public house to be built in one of the new housing estates in the district, in 1964. She died in 1982.

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Trixi attended St. Patrick’s Primary School in Shieldmuir, Elmwood Convent in Bothwell, then St. Joseph’s Convent School in Girvan before heading off to Glasgow University where she would graduate in Arts in 1952, then Bachelor of Laws at Glasgow’s Bute Hall in May, 1954 .

She took over the license for the Beehive on her 21st birthday making her the youngest license holder in the country, at the same time as studying for her Law degree.

Trixi served her legal apprenticeship with Alex McGregor and Co. then Messrs MacDonald & Jamieson, both of Glasgow before setting up her own company – Givens, Givens & Co. – with her older brother John, at North Claremont Street, Glasgow.

She re-located the business to Motherwell in the late 1960s and operated successfully there, until her retirement in 2006.

She was a fourth generation published. Both her parents of her came from trade families. Her association de ella with the licensed trade can be traced back more than 140 years. His paternal grandfather John Francis Givens, who for many years owned the Glencairn Bar in Rutherglen was a Freeman of that Royal Burgh, as well as Burgh Treasurer and a founder member of Rutherglen Glencairn Junior Football Club.

Trixi’s mother was a determined lady, devoted to her family and despite some 42 years of widow-hood, ensured her offspring received the best education possible. She was not to be disappointed as they each excelled in medicine, the priesthood and the legal profession, respectively.

The eldest, Ellen, was on the staff at Law Hospital, Carluke, assisted at a doctor’s practice in Motherwell and spent a year at a women’s hospital in Detroit, Michigan before eventually setting up home in Illinois, USA where she ran a successful business as an Asthma and Allergy specialist with her husband, Dr Thomas J Burke. She died in 2016, aged 91.

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The middle sibling was Fr John F Givens, a well known and highly respected Parish Priest, being ordained at St. Patrick’s, Shieldmuir, in 1955. He was also a qualified solicitor and worked with Trixie in the family business. He held a Private Pilots License (PPL) and was a past president of East Kilbride Rotary Club where he received that organisation’s highest honor – the Paul Harris Award. He died in 2006, aged 79.

In March 1969, Trixi had the honor of being the first woman to make an address from the pulpit of Our Lady of Good Aid Cathedral in Motherwell on the topic of “Women’s World Day of Prayer”. Then in October of the same year she presided over an ecumenical meeting in the Salvation Army Citadel in Hamilton consisting of various churches and religious groups from all over West and Central Scotland.

In 1980, she was the first woman elected to the Board of the Scottish Licensed Trade Association. (SLTA)

At the Bullfrog, Trixi and her elderly mother ran a tight shop (she always used the old fashioned terminology for a Public House). In more than 40 years, the assistance of the local constabulary was never required to quell any disturbance.

She was a Notary Public (NP), a member of the Faculty of Procurators of Glasgow and a reporter to the Children’s Panel.

Trixi was a Christian lady in all aspects of her life. Of mild eccentricities and generous nature, she always gave her best and will be fondly remembered by all who knew her.

‘Requiescat in pace’

Donald S Taylor

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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