Community activist

Community activist

Born : April 1934; Died: January 14 2014

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ANNE Hunter, who has died aged 79, was a community activist in Milngavie near Glasgow. She set up many groups in the area, including the Discovery Group, a Duke of Edinburgh Award-type scheme for the over-50s, and the Tuesday Club, which brought together able people from the community with others who were less able. The single recurring sentiment of the tributes which followed her death was that the community of Milngavie, where she had lived for almost 50 years, is the poorer for her passing.

She was born in Killearn Street in Glasgow in 1934, the eldest of three children. On leaving school in 1949, her first job was as a clerical officer in the education department of Glasgow Corporation. It was there she met her future husband Iain (John K) Hunter whom she married in 1955.

As was common then, she gave up her paid job when her sons were born, first Iain in 1958 and then Neil in 1963, but even in the early days she had to be working for others and ran several volunteer groups.

She had strong political beliefs and was an active member of the Labour Party, holding the office of secretary of the Milngavie Branch in the 1960s. Outside of politics she held a strong belief in public service and served as a lay member on the Board of Management of The Royal Hospital for Sick Children (Yorkhill) Glasgow, from the late sixties through to its abolition with the formation of the Greater Glasgow Health Board in 1974.

When her sons were small, she worked as a youth leader with Glasgow Corporation's education department and Iain and Neil have fond memories of playing rounders and other games in various school playing fields across the north of the City.

Having brought up her family, she returned to her career and in 1971 embarked on a diploma in youth and community studies at Jordanhill College of Education.

She graduated in 1974 and immediately took up the post of senior community education officer at the newly-built community education (CE) centre in Milngavie, where she remained until she retired in 1989 - although the word "retired" is a bit of a euphemism.

As soon as she left her employment at the CE centre, she was offered a part-time post with LEAD Scotland (Linking Education and Disability) at their office in Clermiston, Edinburgh. At this time she became a member of the board of management of Cardonald College in Glasgow and served two four-year two terms in office.

On stepping down from Cardonald College she then became a director of the Glasgow Cat & Dog home from 1993 until it was absorbed into the SSPCA in the mid-1990s.

Aside from the groups she ran personally, she was the catalyst for the establishment of many others which flourished because her support was always on hand from the sidelines. She was a member of Milngavie Community Council and the Heritage and History Group.

Running alongside all of this, she remained a volunteer at the CE centre. When she was still working there she rebelled when the council took the decision to close the centre cafe and got together a band of volunteers to help her keep the cafe running. It is used not just as a place for individuals to meet friends, but by groups as diverse as youth clubs through to the bridge club, ramblers and historians.

East Dunbartonshire Council leader Rhondda Geekie and Milngavie councillor Jim Gibbons both commended her volunteer work and said she would be a sad loss to the community.

Good friend and co-worker on the Tuesday Club, Isobel Cubbage, said: "Life in our community will simply not be the same for very many people. I have never known any one person do so much for so many. Quite simply many of us will have a great deal of difficulty coming to terms with Anne not being in our midst."

For her sterling and unstinting work in the community, she was awarded the MBE in 2005.

Her husband died in 1989 and she is survived by her sister Jean and her two sons, Iain, a lecturer at Scotland's Rural College who lives in St Andrews, and Neil, an IT specialist living in Germany.