Born: November 28, 1949;

Died: October 16, 2021.

THERE is a thread that connected Maggie Singleton, who has died aged 71, to everyone who was fortunate enough to know her, whether as family, friends, neighbours or colleagues – her unfettered love of life and her endless pursuit of joy and laughter. Few who met her ever forgot her.

She embraced and encouraged a spirit of adventure, and inspired others to follow. She had two passions in life – her family and friends, and her love of dance – both of which she followed throughout her adult life.

With her husband Martin (a photographer and cameraman), son Simon, and daughter Kyla, their basement flat in the West End of Glasgow was a magnet for anyone interested in dance, music and good conversation. But Maggie’s energy and enthusiasm extended far beyond raising her family.

She had been educated at Dunfermline College of Physical Education from 1967 to 1970, and afterwards began her career in teaching before moving into arts development, with a focus on dance.

After stints with the Scottish Arts Council as a Dance Development Officer, she worked with Glasgow City Council in the late 1990s as part of its Arts Development team. When Glasgow Life was formed in 2007, her role was Arts Officer – Children and Young People, a position she would keep until she retired.

As Artistic Director and programmer of the Inspiration Arts Festival for Children, she not only fostered a legacy of arts participation for young audiences but also nurtured a generation of artists and makers creating work for this audience. She regarded dance and performance as hugely influential creative art forms that should be made available to all, especially young people, and this became the hallmark of her career in the arts scene in Scotland.

Discussing 2011’s Inspiration Arts Festival programme she had curated for young people, she said: “My aim is to give as broad a spectrum of the arts as possible, to include dance, music, and visual arts. I’ve always felt these experiences are crucial to children’s development; it can help them express their emotions and develop their language. It’s so important that they have the opportunity to participate in magical experiences.”

As a producer for the Commonwealth Games’ Cultural Festival in 2014, she was at the forefront of one of Glasgow’s most significant art events. Her programme celebrated the city’s diverse cultural roots, delighting children and their families in Glasgow Green’s ‘Wee Zone’.

She was a strong advocate and regular champion of local cultural projects. In the early 1980s, she was involved in the restoration of Glasgow’s famous, but derelict, Dowanhill Church, now known as Cottiers. Those who worked with her in the building’s transformation recalled her spirit, positivity and sense of fun, while remembering her leading by example, holding dance classes in the church’s uninsulated rooms.

She was a creative pioneer celebrated for her openness and appetite for innovation, supporting new ideas and embracing challenges with a smile and a flourish. Beyond her work with children and young people, she was extremely knowledgeable and experienced in the dance world and brought this expertise and generosity to her projects.

None of that changed in her retirement, even after Martin’s sudden death in 2014.

She continued to work with young people, becoming a board member and active supporter of Ignite Theatre, which works with children and young people from diverse backgrounds. She took up volunteering, becoming a familiar sight at many festivals and cultural events: Celtic Connections, Aye Write, Merchant City Festival, 2018 European Championships, Findhorn Bay Arts Festival – and a memorable promenade through the streets of Possil to commemorate the meteor that landed there in 1804.

She even worked on the BBC’s Antique Roadshow when it arrived in New Lanark in 2016.

Maggie rekindled a passion for singing in her retirement, joining vocal group danceSing, which allowed her to take part in such memorable performances as the Falkirk Kelpies on Summer Solstice, a ‘flashmob’ at Monachyle Mhor Festival, and singing at the BBC Live Radio tent at the Edinburgh Festival.

She regularly travelled the globe, spending time with Kyla and partner Harry in New York, Simon and partner Katie and grandchildren Kieran and Brodie in London, and her older sister Sheena and family in Perth, Western Australia.

She willingly embraced adventure on these Australian trips, regularly heading out on extended road trips with her ‘big sis’ and even once swimming with whale sharks off the coast of Exmouth. In 2019, she was delighted to finally return to Uganda , where she spent some of her happy childhood years and which left a lasting impression on her.

Maggie Singleton loved life and wanted nothing more than to share that joy with others. She touched the lives of so many and always with a smile.

During the lockdown restrictions, when travel and face-to-face contacts were proscribed, she used her isolation to record videos in her garden demonstrating her newly-learned expertise with a hula-hoop to share with the family. That was the kind of woman she was – her legacy is one of joy, and may her dance live on in all who knew her.