Town in mourning for Anne Hunter

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Tributes have been paid to Anne Hunter from Milngavie - and the recurring sentiment is that the community will be the poorer for her passing.

Anne (79), who died suddenly last week, set up many groups in the district over the years - all of them still flourishing thanks to her continued support.

Great friend and co-worker with the Tuesday Club, Isobel Cubbage, echoed the thoughts of many when she told the Herald: “Life in Milngavie will simply not be the same for very many people. I have never known any one person to 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.”

One such person is Irene Gardner, president of the History and Heritage Group, who said: “Anne’s loss is such that many of us feel robbed at her passing. We can’t imagine meetings without Anne’s inspiring and enthusiastic contribution to our plans.”

Pam McNeill, present chair of the local Discovery Group which was founded by Anne, said: “She was an enabler. She encouraged people to tap into inner resources they didn’t know they had. That was her gift to our group.”

Not surprisingly, in 2005, Anne was awarded the MBE for her sterling and unstinting work in the community.

Anne’s first job was as a clerical officer in the Education Department of Glasgow Corporation. It was there she met her husband Iain (John K) Hunter whom she married in 1955. Anne and Iain moved to Milngavie in the early 60’s and the couple had two sons, Iain and Neil.

Iain said: “Though giving up work when we were young, mum continued to teach keep fit classes. She had strong political beliefs and was an active member of the Labour Party and was for some time secretary of the Milngavie Branch in the 60’s.

“Mum had a strong belief too in public service and served as a lay member on the Board of Management of The Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Glasgow for over a decade.

“Throughout our childhood summer holidays, mum worked as a youth leader with Glasgow Education Department and Neil and I have fond memories of playing rounders and all sorts of other games in various school playing fields across the north of the city.”

In 1971, Anne returned to her career, embarking on a diploma in Youth and Community Studies at Jordanhill College from which she graduated in 1974.

Immediately she took up of the post of Senior Community Education Officer at the newly built CE (Community Education) centre in Milngavie where she remained until 1989.

But it wasn’t in Anne’s nature to retire and she then went to work part-time for LEAD Scotland (Linking Education and Disability) and was around the same time invited to the Board of Management at Cardonald College on which she served for eight years.

When the council closed the cafe at the CE centre Anne recognised that it was a life-line for many people in Milngavie and got together a band of volunteers who continue to run the cafe.

In fact, on the day she died Anne was there as usual and it was when she didn’t turn up as expected the next day for the Tuesday group that it was discovered she had gone.

Council leader Rhondda Geekie and Milngavie Councillor Jim Gibbons both commended Anne’s volunteer work and said she would be a sad loss to the community.

Councillor Gibbons said: “Since becoming a councillor in 2007 I have met Anne many times, usually with a cup of tea and a biscuit where she was helping out.

“The tea and biscuit was a an excuse for being there to listen to people and help them out. She will be sadly missed.”

There will be a memorial service for Anne at Cairns Church tomorrow (Friday) at 11am.

It was her wish that instead of flowers, anyone who wished might instead make a donation to the SSPCA.