May Storrie

Born: November 11, 1944;

Died: May 21, 2023

May Storrie CBE, who has died aged 78, was a leading figure in business and philanthropy who left an indelible mark of service on her community and a legacy of support to local charities. She died on May 21st at Glasgow’s Marie Curie Hospice, which, with her late husband Donald, she was instrumental in helping to establish. The couple helped raise £16m through the Big Build Appeal to ensure the hospice became a reality.

Respected and admired across a range of business communities and charities for her keen mind, intelligence, resilience, hard work and dedication to community causes, May leaves a legacy which will benefit many in her home region of Lanarkshire for years to come.

A formidable businesswoman and effective advocate for charity in and around Glasgow for many decades, after six years serving as a director, May was elected Lord Dean of Guild at The Merchants House, Glasgow and second citizen of Glasgow in 2021. She was the first-ever female Lord Dean to be appointed for over 400 years.

She undertook many civic roles including at COP26 welcoming visitors to the city, leading tributes to the late Queen Elizabeth II and was part of the team that welcomed the Princess Royal to Glasgow after her mother’s death.

She was strong on governance and committed to ensuring the fabric of the Merchants House building was fit for purpose. She was an ex-officio member of Glasgow City Council and attended remembrance services both in George Square and at Knightswood Cross.

However, at the heart of her contribution and focus was the support of local causes. May was keen to strengthen The Merchants House as a modern and relevant charity continuing to support those in real need, with grants awarded to food banks, mental health charities and youth and community groups. As Lord Dean, she established a legacy and philanthropy committee which has already raised significant funds. She passionately believed that those people who have been fortunate in life and work should “give something back” – a clear purpose and commitment which ran throughout her life.

Alasdair Ronald, May’s predecessor in the role, spoke highly of her positive energy, leadership, cool head and forward-thinking mindset. He said: “May was the best person for the role, she was a tower of strength, always supportive, always willing to listen to issues and give a view. Even when she was ill, May was still the driving force in so many areas.”

May Storrie was born in 1944 in Lanarkshire, the only daughter with two brothers Robert and Tom, to her parents Margaret and Thomas. She left school at 16 to help her mother in the family business following the sudden death of her father. She attended a secretarial college and with hard work and a commitment to evening classes, she progressed quickly. After meeting her husband Donald, a police officer, the couple spent a spell in Slough, near London while her husband served with Thames Valley Police, before returning to Scotland, buying a small office and starting their own estate agency business near Hamilton.

From humble beginnings the success story began, with the couple working tirelessly to expand to a network of 32 estate agency offices across Scotland with the business being bought by Nationwide in 1987 in a multi-million pound deal.

Donald and May Storrie’s devoted partnership of 49 years in business and life was a meeting of minds, spirits and values, as a couple who complimented and supported each other in all aspects of their lives. They were seldom apart and those that knew them well said how carefully they looked after each other.

Her success and respect in business was shown when May was elected as the third female president of the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) across the UK.

Always immaculately turned-out, she had a keen sense of style and was passionate about art. She brought her interests together for the benefit of charities with great success including a fashion show at Merchants House which raised over £10,000 for Say Women and in 2014 she organised Art for Care, an exhibition and sale of Scottish art, which raised over £30,000 for Marie Curie. It was a proud day for May and her family when she received a CBE in 2015 for her outstanding work in both business and philanthropy.

To relax and reflect she loved travelling around the world and cherished time with family and close friends who were central to her foundations. Cruises, trips to Spain, Majorca, Barbados, South Africa and many more memorable trips were shared with friends who have talked of her laughter, her sense of fun, generosity and tradition of warm hospitality at her home.

Caring and compassionate, May Storrie was devoted to her family and her two sons Stuart and Grahame and her grandsons Jack and Bruce.

With courage and a stoic “I’m fine” attitude, she bravely fought cancer over the past 17 months with the same positive, forward-looking and determined will that she demonstrated throughout her life. This was a woman who never complained in times of adversity and sought to find solutions rather than problems.

May Storrie will be deeply missed by her loving family, her sons and grandsons, her daughter-in-law Kathryn, and her wider family and multiple groups of close friends and trusted colleagues.

Marie Curie chief executive Matthew Reed paid tribute to her as a much loved and admired patron of the charity: “Not only was May a caring and compassionate individual, her two decades’ worth of commitment to our Glasgow hospice and nursing service saw her raise hundreds of thousands of pounds in donations. Donald and May’s legacy lives on in the very fabric of our Glasgow hospice building and we are privileged to have been able to care for both of them at the end of their lives.”