Urban Union celebrates local hero with three generations

The Coburn family at the Urban Union show home at Muirton
The Coburn family at the Urban Union show home at Muirton

Three generations of former St Johnstone football player Willie Coburn’s family gathered at Urban Union’s Muirton housing development recently to celebrate its new show home which has been named in honour of the man himself.

The show home for the development, which is being delivered by Urban Union in partnership with Caledonia Housing Association and Fairfield Housing Co-operative, has been named The Coburn. The 11 other house types have also been named after former St Johnstone players and a manager. The names were chosen following a competition hosted by Urban Union.

There were an overwhelming number of entries in support of the Coburn name and as such, it was chosen as the name for the lead house on the site which is bringing 203 new homes to the area.

Willie’s daughter Lorraine said: “When I found out about the competition I made sure to spread the word far and wide to try and make sure at least one of the houses would carry dad’s name. It’s just lovely to think that so many people nominated him and they still love and remember him. It’s just a part of him that’s here which is so significant considering the years he spent playing football at Muirton Park. For us as a family it’s wonderful that his memory lives on.

“The houses are lovely and I know he’s with us today in spirit to see what’s been done and he’d be fairly chuffed. He used to say that he’d love for a street to be named after him when he passed away, so even though he’s not got a street I’m delighted he’s now got a house in his honour. He was a great man and what’s so nice is that he knew how well loved and respected he was by the whole family and the local community.”

Neil McKay, managing director at Urban Union and Jean Coburn
Neil McKay, managing director at Urban Union and Jean Coburn

Jack Coburn, Willie’s brother and former councillor for Perth City Centre, said: “This is a fabulous way to celebrate Willie and I’m so proud of all the work Lorraine has done to help get his name remembered in this way. Because of this, the Coburn family name will live on and that’s just fantastic.

“The houses are really top class, without a doubt and anybody getting a house like this will be chuffed. For a house named after the Coburns to be so near where Willie and I played at Muirton Park for St Johnstone is really special.”

Jean Coburn, Willie’s wife, said: “Willie was so well known in this area from his work with the youth club and as a St Johnstone player, he really was in with the bricks. Every time I used to take him into town I would just leave him on the street as I went about my business as it would always take so long to go down the road because so many people would want stop and talk to Willie.

“He would be fairly proud of this and I’m glad the family can get together to see what has been built in his name.”

Cameron (13) and Ewan (11), Willie’s grandchildren, who are both keen football fans and players, said: “Grandad would be so proud of this; it’s really cool that something with the Coburn name will stay in this area.”

Neil McKay, managing director at Urban Union, added: “The Coburns are an important family in this area and we’re so pleased to be able to honour Willie in this way. Paying respect to the strong local community in Muirton has been at the forefront of our plans for the development since the start and we’re grateful to the Coburns for their support.”

The multi-million pound project was granted planning approval by Perth & Kinross Council in July 2016.

Urban Union Ltd was appointed by Caledonia Housing Association to deliver the new homes and will begin work imminently. Completion of the 102 affordable and 101 private homes is scheduled for the end of 2018.

The development will offer a wide range of accommodation types with one, two, three and four bedroom properties available. Each property comes with either private or shared gardens alongside attractive outdoor space and car parking facilities.

The new homes will form an important part of the regeneration of the site at Muirton and will follow extensive community engagement in the development of the master plans.

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