TRIBUTES have been paid to a popular Johnstone woman who has died at the age of 78.

Margaret Blackburn, who was a well-known campaigner in the town, has been described by her family as “a community person who loved everybody.”

She was raised in a family of 13 at their home in Kilbarchan, with seven sisters and five brothers, and attended Kilbarchan Primary and Johnstone High.

After leaving school, Margaret was employed at various locations across Renfrewshire throughout her life.

Her jobs included working at Paisley’s Ferguslie Mill, the PlayTex Mill in Johnstone and Linwood’s Chrysler factory.

She met her husband Nelson while dancing at Johnstone Town Hall, who she married in 1963, and they were together until his death in 1990.

Margaret would later become a home-help, which fuelled her passion to help her fellow residents in Johnstone improve their town.

Her son Stuart told The Gazette: “I think her community spirit became fully realised after working as a home-help, because she was meeting a lot of old folk and listening to their concerns.

“She retired in her 50s and that’s when she became heavily involved with her local Tenants’ and Residents’ Association.

“She always was vocal and rose through the ranks and eventually became chairperson of the organisation.”

Margaret led many successful local campaigns, including the demolition of an ‘eyesore’ block of flats in Dimity Street, which had become increasingly run down and derelict.

She also enjoyed organising popular local events, including the Johnstone Festival and Gala Days, and always tried to make the celebrations as big as possible for local residents.

For the last 55 years of her life, Margaret lived in Woodbank Crescent and was a well-recognised face all over town.

Stuart said: “Everybody in Johnstone knew her and because she came from such a big family, she was everyone’s favourite aunt.

“She had the gift of the gab and always loved to talk to people.

“My mum would go down to the shops for a loaf and come back three hours later.

“She will never be forgotten.”

Margaret is survived by her sons Stuart and Nelson, and grandchildren Calvin and Leah.

Read all the latest from Renfrewshire and beyond


Scotland is in lockdown. Shops are closing and newspaper sales are falling fast. We're not exaggerating when we say the future of local newspapers and the vital service we have provided for many years is under threat.

Please consider supporting The Gazette in whatever way you can - by paying just 90p for a copy of the newspaper when you're shopping for essential supplies for yourself and others or by subscribing to our e-edition here.