She subsequently obtained the post of therapist at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary in the department of neurosurgery. In 1955 she married Dr A D Dewar, a university physiologist. Working together, they developed the Edinburgh Masker, an electronic device for suppressing stammering. This made use of the observation that stammerers often become fluent in noisy surroundings. The Edinburgh Masker automatically blocks self-hearing when the subject attempts to speak. Use of the Masker was very successful in the majority of stammerers when applied efficiently. It attained a remarkable apotheosis recently when Jack Webster, who benefited from its use, gained the UK Speaker of the Year Award in 1996. In an article in the Glasgow Herald, he described Ann as "one of nature's finest, a lady who devoted herself wholeheartedly to the service of others."
In later years Ann continued her contribution with her husband by assisting him in his hobby of restoring historic buildings in Perthshire. Her memory will be cherished by her patients and by her friends in many countries.
added December 18, 1999
From Alan Badmington - May 23, 2011
I was one of the first persons to acquire that prosthetic device. If my memory serves me correctly, less than 10 had been previously issued. I learned about the Masker via a colleague of mine who had seen it being demonstrated on a BBC television programme about scientific inventions. Within an hour, I contacted Ann by telephone and received an invitation to travel to Scotland the following day. By merely listening to me speak (on the telephone), she confidently expressed the view that the device would be suitable/appropriate for my kind of stutter. (I later learned that it was less successful for those who experienced silent blocks).
I maintained contact with Ann Dewar for more than 20 years and subsequently participated in a follow-up survey that she conducted in respect of the initial 50 Edinburgh Masker recipients. As a result of the feedback that I (and I'm sure others) provided to Ann (and the manufacturers, Findlay, Irvine), several amendments/adjustments were made to the device. One aesthetic change involved discarding the unsightly 'doctor's stethoscope' in favour of less conspicuous ear moulds.
Around 1979, Ann invited me to accompany her to Middlesex Hospital in London where the device was to be unveiled to an international audience. I recall being introduced to persons of many different nationalities, including some from the US. Articles appeared in several newspapers (including the national press) highlighting that an unknown police officer from Wales was using the Edinburgh Masker. (At that time in my life I was far less open about my stutter, fearing that if my identity became known, then someone might render me less effective by damaging the device).
Shortly afterwards, my ownership of the Edinburgh Masker became the subject of discussion on a weekly BBC Radio 4 current affairs programme. It featured a recorded interview with me and drew comments from a panel comprising a Member of Parliament, a TV personality, and a well-known psychiatrist. The MP (who regularly appeared in TV adverts for dog food) opined that my Chief Constable (the Chief Officer of Police) was "brave to appoint someone with a stammer".
As the Masker was new, Ann Dewar referred several clients (and speech therapists) to me in order that I could demonstrate the apparatus in action.
Around the same time, I recall Ann contacting me to seek my advice in respect of a notorious mass murderer. News about the infamous Yorkshire Ripper was headline news in the UK. 13 women were murdered (and a further 7 attacked) in the North of England between 1969 and 1981. At one point, police and public focus was drawn to a taunting tape recording that had been sent to the Murder Enquiry Team by someone claiming to be the murderer. The voice was believed to belong to a person having an accent common to a specific area in the North East of England (not too far from the Scottish border).
Somehow, Ann had become involved in the enquiry and sought my view as to whether it might be a person who stammered (and was using an accent to camouflage the impediment).
It subsequently transpired that the tape (which was released into the public domain) was a hoax perpetrated by someone other than the murderer. The police apparently gave too much credence to the recorded message (and letters) - an error of judgment that caused their enquiries to travel in unsuccessful directions. The Yorkshire Ripper remained at large until 1981 (committing further murders) until he was finally arrested and brought to trial.
During the 20 (or so) years that I had the pleasure of knowing Ann Dewar, we engaged in a considerable amount of correspondence and always exchanged cards at Christmas. In 1999, her husband, Bill, wrote to tell me that his 'beloved Ann' had passed away. I was deeply saddened by the news.
Ann and Bill were heavily involved with the restoration of Scottish castles.
In an article in the Glasgow Herald (following her death), fellow Edinburgh Masker user (and renowned public speaker), Jack Webster, described Ann as "one of nature's finest, a lady who devoted herself wholeheartedly to the service of others." I heartily concur - it was an immense privilege to have enjoyed Ann's friendship and to have spent time in her delightful company.