Johnstone and The Villages Local Area Committee have proposed that an award of £6,000 from the Renfrewshire Citizens Fund be made to support different forms of tribute and commemoration in Kilbarchan.

If approved, on the centenary of the Glasgow Rent Strike, when Mary Barbour and her followers fought evictions imposed by unscrupulous landlords, a memorial in her name will be erected in her hometown.

Plans to mark the achievements of Ms Barbour are well under way in the village and the cairn is proposed to be unveiled in November this year.

Mary was born at 37 New Street Kilbarchan in 1875, the third of seven children to carpet weaver James Rough and Jane Gavin, and spent her childhood in the village before moving to Elderslie, and then to Govan, where she spent her adult life.

She became one of the most significant figures of the working class movement in the west of Scotland in the early part of the last century.

Councillor Derek Bibby, who has led the campaign to recognise Mary’s legacy in Kilbarchan, has secured agreement from Renfrewshire Council and the community council for the cairn to be built in New Street, close to the spot where Mary was born.

Among the other initiatives, will be the awarding of a Mary Barbour school prize by Kilbarchan Primary School and commemorative bench opposite the millennium garden in the village. There are also plans to host an online exhibition which will include the weaving traditions of Kilbarchan.

Cllr Bibby said: “I’d like to ask Gazette readers if they have any information such as press cuttings, artefacts and recollections of Mary’s family, which could be used for the Kilbarchan events.” A number of Mary’s descendants have been involved in the planning of the various events but Cllr Bibby is looking forward to hearing from others in Kilbarchan, Elderslie and beyond who may have much to contribute. He is also anxious to hear from any descendents or relatives of Mary.

Derek has been working closely with the Remember Mary Barbour campaign in Glasgow, which has had the services of historian Catriona Burness who is regarded as the undisputed expert on Mary Barbour and has uncovered much new information about Mary’s own family life in Glasgow.

Mary’s life was marked by many other achievements which helped many poor families and children, achievements which are to be recognised in Glasgow through a planned statue.

Cllr Bibby continued: “I am delighted to be working with Renfrewshire Council and Kilbarchan Community Council to look at ways in which the village can mark the achievements of this remarkable woman.” A Renfrewshire Council spokesman said: “Mary Barbour played a prominent role in advancing women’s rights and standing up for poorer communities.

“There is a growing local and national recognition of Mary’s pioneering role and that there should be recognition of this in her birthplace of Kilbarchan, “Johnstone and The Villages Local Area Committee have recommended that an award of £6,000 from the Renfrewshire Citizens Fund be made to support different forms of tribute and commemoration in Kilbarchan.

“Those are likely to take the form of a school prize, a cairn and interpretative board.

“As is standard practice with recommended awards from the Renfrewshire Council Citizens Fund, the proposed grant will be considered at the next meeting of Renfrewshire Council’s Finance and Resources Policy Board.” In regard to Mary’s childhood Cllr Bibby can be contacted at