Eleanor Brown: A tribute

Eleanor Brown

Maryhill Housing has paid tribute to one of its Board members who has died after a short illness.

Eleanor Brown had a distinguished service with the Association over many years and was described last week as a “remarkable servant of the housing association movement who fought tirelessly for her community”.

In a statement, Maryhill Housing said it mourned the loss of Eleanor whose long years of community campaigning made her “simply irreplaceable”.

Eleanor personified the selfless dedication of so many people who devote years of their time to the housing association movement and was on Maryhill’s Board and prior to that its management committee for decades.

She was extremely proud of her Ruchill community and helped blaze a trail in community-controlled housing with the hugely-successful stock transfer of homes in Ruchill in 1994.

At the time, stock transfers were not the common occurrence they have been in recent years. It came about after Maryhill Housing and the ‘Barnes Road Action Group’ successfully persuaded the-then Glasgow District Council to hand over unpopular and difficult-to-let properties in Ruchill.

Maryhill Housing then set about demolishing them and building new homes in what came to be known as the ‘Barnes Road stock transfer’ located in the Parkhill area. It set in motion the vital regeneration work by Maryhill Housing which continues to this day.

It was a milestone in community-controlled housing with local people helping to shape the future housing needs of Ruchill and getting involved at every stage of the process.

Many families living in good housing in Ruchill today owe a debt of gratitude to Eleanor and other community campaigners for their vision and hard work 24 years ago.

Eleanor was chairperson of Ruchill Community Council for many years and helped set up Ruchill Furniture which still helps individuals and families who need assistance furnishing their home.

She was a runner-up in the inaugural Mary Barbour Award in 2016 which rightly recognised her as an inspiring woman within the housing association movement.

Paying tribute to Eleanor, Maryhill Housing chief executive, Bryony Willett, said: “We mourn the loss of Eleanor, sharing the sorrow of her family, but remain extremely thankful for her exceptional life and work.

“Eleanor was a selfless and devoted servant of the community and this housing association. Her overwhelming desire was to make life better for people she didn’t even know and to fight poverty and injustice wherever she found it. We will remember Eleanor fondly as an inspiring individual whose life was dedicated to helping others.”

Willy Briody, Maryhill’s long-serving former chief executive who is now retired, said: “The Eleanor Brown that I knew spent her life fighting for the people in her community of Ruchill - the people she knew best. She always put the needs of her community above everything else and knew Ruchill like the back of her hand. Eleanor was a tireless worker, a genuine character, and will be sadly missed by those who loved her.”

Former Maryhill Housing community development officer, Bobby Pollock, who worked closely with Eleanor – particularly on the 1994 stock transfer – added: “Eleanor was undoubtedly a true champion of the community. I vividly recall her dogged determination to deliver the best housing possible for Ruchill, the satisfaction she derived from helping people obtain a new home and from the regeneration of Ruchill. She will be greatly missed.”

Maryhill Housing also mourns the passing of former management committee member Jim Stuart – a former chair of Parkhill Residents’ Association and chair of the Barnes Road Action Group. He was a well-known figure in the Ruchill community. Jim’s funeral took place earlier this month.

*Eleanor’s funeral will take place at Maryhill Crematorium in Cadder on Tuesday 1 May at 2.15 pm.

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