Tributes paid to Alasdair McKee
Tributes have poured in for Glen Oaks Housing Association’s late CEO, Alasdair McKee, who passed away last week.
In an outpouring of sorrow and sympathy from across the sector, colleagues and friends have spoken of the devastating loss of Alasdair’s death.
Alasdair, 58, ran Glen Oaks since its inception in 1991 - first as director and latterly as CEO.
Paying tribute to Alasdair, Glen Oaks chairperson Simon Gaunt called him a “true champion of the housing association movement”.
He added: “The entire staff and Board of Glen Oaks along with many of our tenants are devastated and profoundly distressed by the loss of Alasdair.
“His contribution to the work of Glen Oaks serving our communities with distinction for over 30 years is incalculable and we grieve his passing most deeply.
“Our sincere condolences go out to his family and we know the wider housing association movement in Scotland and beyond will share the widespread sorrow felt by so many.”
Alasdair was appointed director of Glen Oaks in his 20s when local residents on Glasgow’s southside founded the housing association.
Throughout its history, it has adhered closely to the principles of the housing association movement – building homes and regenerating its communities to make them better places in which to live.
The late Pat McGinlay MBE, who was instrumental in Alasdair’s appointment, forged a remarkable partnership with him and together with successive boards and a committed staff drove forward their agenda for improving the lives of tenants in Arden, Darnley and Pollok.
David Bookbinder, director of Glasgow and West of Scotland Forum of Housing Associations, said: “The depth of the shock and sorrow so many of us are feeling right now says it all. On top of Alasdair’s fantastic contribution to the community-based housing association movement and his glittering music career, we all knew him as just such a kind, considerate personç
“He remembered family stuff you’d told him ages ago and would always ask how things were going. It might seem a trivial detail, but if he wasn’t able to attend one of our events he invariably got in touch to apologise and wish us well. We’d ever expect anyone to do that but Alasdair always did - he was so conscientious, thoughtful and empathetic.
“And that smile of his - full of warmth and perhaps a wee bit of mischief. Amongst other occasions it lit up a good few Glen Oaks strategy days I had the pleasure of attending, when added entertainment - usually of the musical variety - would follow the serious stuff. It’s impossible to grasp that he is gone, and my and the Forum’s deepest condolences go to Alasdair’s family, friends and everyone at Glen Oaks.”
Gary Dalziel, chief executive of Elderpark Housing, said: “Alasdair was a constant at Glen Oaks and was widely respected as one of the Chief Executives who clearly had a strong and abiding connection with the community he served. Alasdair was considered to be deeply innovative with the introduction of many projects which focused on more than the homes typified by the ‘Gold Service’ pioneered by the Association.
“He always took the time to be respectful, open with his time and wisdom and genuinely had an interest in you as a person. Over the years we had many conversations with him and while there can be no doubt he has had a long and successful career, what matters perhaps more was his humility, the kindness he was known for displaying and how he was valued by his colleagues and the whole sector.”
Helen Forsyth, chair of the SFHA, said: “Everyone at SFHA is devastated to learn of Alasdair’s death. I knew him personally over many years, and he was both a valued colleague and a lovely man, well-liked and respected within the social housing sector. His passing is a huge loss.
“We send our love and warmth to Alasdair’s family and colleagues: we will always remember him with great fondness.”
Charles Turner, former chief executive of Thenue Housing, said Alasdair’s working life had been utterly devoted to Glen Oaks – as he chose to remain with the association and lead it for over three decades.
Charles added: “We have lost someone dear to our hearts, who we could turn to for support, inspiration and guidance. Our housing world, particularly in Glasgow, will never be the same.”
Audrey Simpson, the Home Group’s director of Scotland, said: “Alasdair was a warm, kind and thoughtful man who was always there to support and encourage others. He dedicated his working life to serving the community and quite rightly was proud of what had been achieved over the years. But at the same time he was very modest. He firmly believed in communities and was passionate about providing a holistic approach to service delivery. I was lucky to call Alasdair a friend.
“Alasdair encouraged me throughout my career and supported me when I was facing some challenges of my own. I thank you Alasdair my dear friend. You will never be forgotten and will always be loved.”
Craig Sanderson, former chief executive of the Link group, said: “Although Glen Oaks was a ‘community anchor’ focusing exclusively on Arden and the wider Greater Pollok area, Alasdair was passionate about developing ways to improve the health and wellbeing of everyone. This could be best done by ‘thinking outside the box’ and Alasdair was a dab hand at that. That’s why we would meet to exchange ideas.
“That’s why we attended each other’s opening events. That’s why we played together in various bands - a good excuse to get together to explore new ways of promoting the social enterprise business model and social justice agenda.
“That’s why at times like this, when so called ‘leaders’ across the globe demonstrate that they are not fit for purpose, it is such a tragedy that we have lost someone who truly was.”
Well-known Castlemilk community campaigner Maureen Cope MBE, of Ardenglen Housing Association, said: “I am deeply distressed at the news of Alasdair’s untimely passing. Losing such a well-liked chief executive whose entire working life was devoted to the work of Glen Oaks is a devastating blow. Our hearts go out to his family and to the wider Glen Oaks community.
“Alasdair’s lasting legacy will be defined by the successful, vibrant housing association he helped build over three decades and which has grown deep roots in its communities. That couldn’t have been achieved without Alasdair’s skill, enthusiasm and sheer hard work.”
Glen Oaks’ long-serving communications advisor Ross Wilson said Alasdair’s friendly persona greatly endeared him to the print and broadcast media, adding: “Alasdair was a joy to work with – always listening, always willing to see things from a different angle but with a firm focus on doing his very best for the communities he served with such distinction for so long.”
Alasdair is survived by his wife Diane and their two daughters. Funeral details will be announced in due course.
More tributes can be found on the Scottish Housing News LinkedIn and Twitter pages.