Throughout writing my book, I’ve received a few requests from local people who want the story of their loved ones told. There are so many worthy and remarkable people in this town; it proved very difficult to pick a candidate for such a story. However, I eventually settled on including the story of Maureen, not only for her remarkable life achievements, but also for the kindness and devotion throughout her life towards others.
Maureen Rooney was born in Blantyre on 27th April 1947. She grew up in Blantyre, living at 36 Wheatlands Avenue with her mum, dad and 2 brothers. She started work as a hairdresser before getting a job in 1974 at the Hoover factory, Cambuslang. Before very long she was voted in as a shop steward. Maureen devoted her life to her family and had strong beliefs in worker’s rights and fairness for part time staff. Maureen was voted in as the National Women’s Officer for the AEEU, after winning a national election. She served on various committees, including The National Health and Safety Commission, TUC General Council, Member of the Executive Council of the Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions.
Maureen was loyally supported by her husband Phil and their 4 children. I’m told, Phil’s endless support was key in supporting his wife.
She worked tirelessly to support equal pay, rights for part time workers and ensuring improvements in health and safety in the work place.
Maureen travelled across the world in her role. One memorable trip was her meeting with Nelson Mandela. She was elected to the TUC General Council in 1990.
Maureen was awarded an OBE in 1996 by Her Majesty The Queen. She was honoured for her work in supporting equal pay, improved conditions for women and part time workers.
Maureen was then awarded the CBE in recognition of the work she did to improve health and safety, supporting workers access to Adult Literacy and basic skills courses and her work in supporting employers to support working mothers, through her position as Vice Chair of The National Childminders Association. It’s also worth nothing her dedication to the Labour Party and its reforms.
Maureen died on the 2nd May 2003 after a long fight against breast cancer. She was only 56. Maureen loved her home in Blantyre. She died in London, but as per her wishes, she was taken home and buried in Blantyre. Maureen’s daughter Phyllis posthumously collected the CBE for her mum. The Blantyre Project and Maureen’s family honour this wonderful woman with this printed story and so future generations will remember.
Maureen is now buried in Priestfield Cemetery with her husband Phil who died 22nd March 2006, also very sadly with breast cancer.