They each have their own deeply fond memories of their Auntie Lettie - but now Letitia McKell's memory will also live in the minds of visitors to Motherwell Library.

Earlier this month, our sister title The Herald helped in the call for relatives of Mrs McKell to come forward to share stories of her life after she left a £190,000 bequest to North Lanarkshire Council.

Three of her nieces made contact - Winifred McCall, Jan Miller and Marlene Frame - and were guests of honour at the official opening of the new Letitia McKell MakerSpace.

The bequest has been used to transform a room at the front of the 120-year-old library into a high-tech craft space with new digital and craft resources including 3D printers, sewing machines and a laser cutter.

Her nieces detailed how Mrs McKell had a love of reading and was inspired to prioritise education by her father, who took her with him while he studied in the library.

Poignantly, Motherwell Library staff showed the nieces a blueprint of the building from the time - and the MakerSpace is coincidentally the reading room a young Letitia would have spent time in as a girl.

Mrs Miller said: "It's quite incredible that Auntie Lettie would have been here with my grandfather and now the room has her name on it.

"She would have loved this. The room is so colourful and she loved colour."

It was the first time Mrs Frame had met with Mrs McCall and Mrs Miller and the visit was an opportunity to swap childhood anecdotes and catch up on family members. Mrs McKell was one of 14 children from Craigneuk, in Lanarkshire, and met and married her husband Frank, who died in 1980.

In 1945 the couple emigrated to Canada where they lived with Frank's sister Bessie who had emigrated there already before buying a house together in Everett, Washington.

Mrs McKell worked in a meat marketing factory and Frank worked in Scotts paper mill and she regularly sent dollars home to her mother back in Craigneuk to help her out.

Mrs Frame said: "I think necessity made them move abroad and try and find a better life because it was hard work here, it was heavy industry and it was difficult."

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Several of the siblings moved to the US and Canada while others stayed in Lanarkshire. Again, by odd coincidence, Mrs McKell worked as a welder with the same construction company Mrs Frame worked with. It was a colleague who mentioned to her that a Letitia McKell had been a female welder in war time.

The family also say she worked making shell casings for gunners during World War II.

First moving to Canada, the couple then left for Florida before finally settling in Everett but Mrs McKell would return to Craigneuk to visit every few years and was particularly close to her sister Jessamine, Mrs O'Neill's mother.

When she was 11, Mrs Frame and her mother went to stay with her aunt and uncle for three months, an incredible adventure for a young girl who had never been overseas before.

She remembers playing under the water sprinklers in a huge garden and being allowed a shot at driving Auntie Lettie's car.

The journey involved five days at sea on the Queen Elizabeth liner sailing from Southampton to New York, and then a five day train ride to Chicago and then on to Seattle.

The couple had one child, a son named Thomas, who was stillborn, and then were unable to have any more.

Mrs McKell's nieces believe that was partly why she was so invested in them and their other cousins, as well as being wonderful at keeping in touch with the wider family.

Mrs McKell added: "I've actually got her southern fried chicken recipe. I remember she made it in my house once and it was delicious.

"I used to write to her as a child and tell her all my stories."

Auntie Lettie would send gifts back from America, including exotic sweets not available in Scotland.

On her visits home, Mrs O'Neill said, their aunt would give them chores to do with the promise of cash payments.

On one occasion she promised Mrs O'Neill's older brother $5 for some cleaning - a vast sum at the time - and a short while later a package arrived from America ... containing a $5 note tea towel.

Mrs O'Neill also remembers going to meet her aunt at the airport and seeing her appear, then aged around 75 and long widowed, with a younger man that she'd chatted up on the flight.

She said: "I remember her coming through the arrivals gate, all swishing out and going, 'Hello, darling' with this handsome man in his forties or fifties.

"When we were younger I also remember her taking my older sister out shopping - who must have only been about 10 - and when they came back my sister had had her long hair cut short and Auntie Lettie had bought her these thigh high boots with heels.

"My sister loved them but our dad nearly had a fit."

When asked what Auntie Lettie was like, the unanimous verdict is "feisty" - a no-nonsense woman with a strong sense of fun.

Mrs O'Neill said: "My grandpa worked down the mines and he wanted to be a fireman down the mine so he had to go and study and get certificates.

"He came to Motherwell Library and learned and the knowledge that he got inspired Auntie Letter because people then didn't have books and not everybody could read then either so he used to take in letters and read the letters of the neighbours."

Mrs McCall added: "He was an unofficial advocate for people, helping them to fill in forms and make sure they were getting benefits they needed or if they had to deal with officialdom he helped them with that.

"My uncle used to bring me to this library before I was at school and it was just mad because you could get books out for nothing - it was amazing."

Mrs McCall was also inspired by Motherwell Library to become a librarian and did her work experience in the building too.

The library has just enjoyed a £1.6million investment by North Lanarkshire Council which has doubled the children’s area and created new flexible learning and meeting areas.

The Letitia McKell MakerSpace is named in her honour.

Provost Kenneth Duffy said: "I went to school just down the road from the library and I’m delighted to see the completed works – it really does look impressive.

“The refurbishment of this historic building is part of our commitment to providing vibrant community spaces and hubs for everyone.

“The large children’s area is bright and welcoming, with the emphasis on fun, and the Letitia McKell MakerSpace provides a state-of-the-art facility for people of all ages to be creative, learn new skills and meet others.

“We are very grateful to the donation Letitia left, and it was a pleasure to meet her nieces and thank them for their aunt’s kindness.”

The unique pod area within the library is a fully immersive, 360-degree environment with sound, smell and interactive elements.

In the digital hub, hi-tech resources encourage innovation and effective learning experiences and support digital skills development.

Both will be available to community groups, businesses, schools and individuals.

Renovation of the library building also included improvements to the roof, rendering, rewiring and the total redesign of the ground and first floors.