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June 26, 2013

Comments

Jo Murray

We are all at a loss in Assynt with the news of Allan's death. Devastated would be an under statement.
So to read your 'tribute' to Allan is like pouring some healing ointment on to our deep felt wounds.
It was an honour to know and to work with Allan, a man of vision, passion and integrity. Much loved and forever missed.

Alasdair Macleod

I was at that radio broadcast in Lochinver and will never forget the words spoken by Allan and another great man Angus Macrae from Strome. The quiet way they spoke accentuated the power of what they said and keeps you going when faced with what seems like implacable odds.

Terry Forey

Very nice and appropriate word in regards to Tommy Riley, Lesley, a wonderful man indeed, that gave so much for the Drumchapel Community, he helped me in the early 1990s and I went on to work with him in the Danny Morrison Health Project. A Sad loss to the community, he was a much loved man, and will be sadly missed.

Loraine Houston

Hi Lesley i had the privilege to work with Tommy Riley as a comminity health volunteer for 9yrs. Would easily say Tommy was the driving force and one of the main backbones of the project. Living not far from one another we always bumped into each other. Tommy also was the father figure to my oldest daughter Lynn who went on to marry his son Andrew, who have two kids Andrew and Bethani and were adored by Tommy, as they did him. Very sad time in the Drumchapel Community, even sadder for his family

Edwin Moore

Excellent tributes thanks Lesley

Cathy McCormack

Oh Lesley what a really beautiful tribute to both Allan and Tommy. I never met Allan only heard of him through Issie. Reading your blog it became evident that they were obviously connected in more ways than one! Aye they shared the same spirit of Brizilian Educator Paulo Freire, who in spite of poverty, imprisonment and exile became a world leader in the struggle for the liberation of poor and deprived communities and classes who he said constituted ‘cultures of silence’! Both Allan and Tommy were committed to breaking through this silence so perhaps time now to celebrate their lives which has given many hope for the future. And so I would like to share my tribute to Tommy with the people in Assynt which I have now posted on Facebook.
A Great Warrior of Light was my friend and comrade Tommy Riley. I could not believe my luck when I first met Tommy in the mid 1980’s. Tommy shared the same passion of my community in Easterhouse at the injustice of not only being forced to live in freezing cold damp housing, fuel poverty and all the associated health problems, but even getting the blame for it as well. But Tommy was unique because although he worked 24/7 for justice he asked for nothing in return for himself only justice for the people in his community in Drumchapel. Over many cups of tea and coffee Tommy and I brainstormed and wanted to get to the root causes of the insanity of our lived reality and so we were forced to become’ why’ people and wanted to know ‘why’ about everything. That is when we both sussed out the whole ‘Poverty Industry’. How come activists in these modern-day post war ‘townships’ were having to work 24/7 trying to tackle the root cause of all the problems facing us when we had all these middle-class professionals coming in from the leafy suburbs treating the symptoms? At that time there was a ten year gap between the mortality rate between the men in the ‘townships’ and the leafy suburbs and that was why Tommy was determined to set-up ‘The Danny Morrison Health Project’. Is it any wonder that ‘Glasgow Health Board’ took fright? Sadly Tommy who had become the architect of improving men’s health became a big threat to the ‘powers that be’ and so they closed the project down. Tommy had always refused to take a job in the ‘poverty industry’ and did not want to take this job either! I think I managed to persuade Tommy that this job had nothing to do with money but needed his vision and leadership. When they pulled the carpet from under his feet, Tommy never recovered from the injustice of it all. Now the gap in mortality between leafy suburbs and townships in Glasgow has grown from 10 to 30 years and township men have the same life expectancy as men living in the slums of India – 52 years.
I was very fortunate to have a few conversations with Tommy on the phone over the past six months. Mentally and spiritually he was alert as ever and we were both outraged at ATOS, the company given millions upon millions by our coalition government to carry out their dirty work robbing the sick, disabled and even the dying of their basic human needs for survival. And so although I am crying right now that I have lost someone who was really important in my life, at the same time I am crying tears of joy in celebration of Tommy’s life. The most wonderful tribute that the people in Drumchapel and indeed all us could ever give to Tommy is to embrace his humanity and to become ‘why’ people too; that is all he ever really wanted for the people in the ‘schemes’. Having met his three beautiful children over the years and listened to him talk non-stop about how proud he was of them, I was left in no doubt that in spite of all the poverty and oppression we faced, his children will carry the torch. Although I shared with Tommy over the phone that I was on the case and setting up my own website I feel really gutted that Tommy never got to see –cathysblogstogod.org . Tommy your spirit will never die!

Frank McNab

Beautiful tribute to two extraordinary men.

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