Maryhill vice chair’s Mary Barbour Award success

Lorain celebrates her success
Lorain celebrates her success

Maryhill Housing vice chair Lorain Mackinnon has been honoured in this year’s Mary Barbour Award event.

Lorain was named Runner-Up in the prestigious Award named after a heroine of social justice in Glasgow.

The fantastic achievement was announced at a fabulous ceremony held in the stunningly-ornate banqueting hall of Glasgow’s City Chambers.

The accolade is widely seen as a well-deserved triumph for Lorain who has dedicated over 20 years of her life to serving the communities of Ruchill and Maryhill.

Lorain has held various roles within Maryhill Housing – all on a voluntary unpaid basis – and until a year ago was chair of the organisation.

Lorain has received huge congratulations but immediately hailed the win a “team effort and a great pat on the back for Maryhill Housing”.

The win comes with a Commemorative Certificate and engraved rose bowl.

Now in its second year the Award is presented by Parkhead Housing Association in association with the Wheatley Group. It was awarded to Sadie Gordon, vice chair of Queens Cross Housing Association

Lorain said: “I’m overwhelmed by this. Like Mary Barbour, I have always believed in social justice and this incredible woman showed us how it can be achieved. True grit, determination and success defined Mary Barbour’s life.”

The Mary Barbour Award was set up to honour exceptional women who have followed in the footsteps of the much-admired Glaswegian trail-blazer best known for her fierce political activism in Govan. Mary Barbour became a pivotal figure of the Glasgow Rent Strikes of 1915.

While men faced war on the battlefield, Mary fought her own domestic war, courageously leading an army of 20,000 protestors to victory over slum landlords at Glasgow Sheriff Court.

Such was the impact of her fight that Lloyd George, later to become Liberal Prime Minister and then Munitions Minister agreed with her.

A month later Parliament passed the Rent Restriction Act, the first of its kind in Europe, setting rents for the duration of the First World War and for six months after the war at pre-war levels. It marked a total victory for Mary Barbour and her supporters.

And in a new development it was announced at the ceremony that a statue of Mary Barbour leading her “army” of adults and children is to be erected outside Govan subway station as a lasting memorial to her inspiring work.

The winning design from sculptor Andrew Brown has been universally praised for capturing the spirit of the campaign and in defiance of slum landlords.

Commenting on Lorain’s success, Maryhill Housing chief executive, Bryony Willett, said: “This is a remarkable achievement and we send our warmest congratulations to Lorain. We have always known of Lorain’s commitment to our communities and to helping others. She is a worthy recipient of an honour which recognises the unique campaigning role of women working in the voluntary sector across Glasgow.

“We also send congratulations to this year’s recipient of the Mary Barbour Award – Sadie Gordon who is Vice Chair at our neighbouring housing association Queens Cross. Like Lorain, Sadie is an outstanding champion of the community.”

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