Wednesday 28 September 2016

'A formidable firebrand' - Alex Ferguson makes charitable donation to Scottish rent striker

Published 23/04/2015 | 07:46

Former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson
Former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson

Alex Ferguson is to donate £5,000 to a fund to build a statue of a woman who successfully led rent strikes during the First World War.

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The former Manchester United manager is supporting the Remember Mary Barbour Fund in memory of the "formidable firebrand" from Govan in Glasgow.

Ms Barbour led the rent strikes in the city in 1915, forcing a change in the law with the introduction of the Rent Restrictions Act.

After the war, she maintained her vision and determination to deliver better conditions for women and children across the city by blazing a trail, becoming one of the first female councillors, the first female Baillie - a civic officer - and a female magistrate.

"I take great pride in coming from Govan," Ferguson said. "It's a place where I grew up learning the value of hard graft, resolve and resilience."

"Mary Barbour is also from Govan and possessed all these attributes. She successfully mobilised people from far and wide to take direct action against social injustice and changed the law of the land.

"A formidable firebrand, she was courageous and compassionate in equal measure.

"I'm delighted at this opportunity to pay my respects to Mary Barbour with my £5,000 donation to the Remember Mary Barbour Fund."

The football legend will meet Glasgow's Lord Provost Sadie Docherty, who launched the fund, and former MP Maria Fyfe, chair of the Remember Mary Barbour Association, at the City Chambers.

The Lord Provost said: "It's a pleasure to welcome Sir Alex Ferguson to the City Chambers.

"We're delighted at his support for the Mary Barbour Fund. As we mark the centenary of the First World War, the significance of Mary Barbour cannot be underestimated.

"It would be such a pity if her contribution to women and children and a fairer society was allowed to fade.

"It's high time she received permanent recognition and it's wonderful that the Remember Mary Barbour campaign to erect a statue in her memory will finally allow a lasting tribute to her vision, courage and convictions."

The Remember Mary Barbour Fund was launched last month following a motion by councillor Pauline McKeever in May 2013 urging the local authority to support the Remember Mary Barbour committee's campaign for a statue.

Ms Fyfe said: "The Remember Mary Barbour Association is extremely grateful to Sir Alex for giving such a high-profile boost to our fundraising. I do hope it inspires other to donate."

Glasgow currently has three statues commemorating women: Queen Victoria in George Square, Lady Isabella Elder in Govan and La Passionaria on the Clydeside Walkway.

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