AN all star gala concert is to be held in Glasgow to raise funds for a statue in honour of working class hero Mary Barbour.

The concert will feature some of Scotland's leading performers and is taking place on February 21 at the Old Fruitmarket. Names will be announced in the New Year.

Mary, who lived in Govan, led the Glasgow rent strikes of 1915, which forced a change in the law to curtail profiteering landlords.

She is widely regarded as one of the most important social reformers of the last century and was one of Glasgow's first female councillors.

The Evening Times first revealed plans, led by former MP Maria Fyfe, to create a statue in her honour. Football legend Alex Ferguson is among the celebrity patrons of the campaign.

There was anger last month after a funding application for the memorial was turned down by arts agency, Creative Scotland.

Despite already securing almost £56,000 of donations - half the money needed for a permanent sculpture in Glasgow - the Remember Mary Barbour Association’s (RMBA) request for funds was rejected by the Scottish arts body because of an apparent lack of community engagement.

The group needs just £110,000 to pay for a permanent statue to the campaigner and has shortlisted five sculptors, whose maquettes or scale models, are currently touring the community and been put on display in Govan - which was Barbour's home.

It is hoped February's gala concert will help plug the funding gap.

Maria Fyfe, Chair of the Remember Mary Barbour Association said. “We’ve planned this major concert to celebrate Mary’s life and work.

"It is part of our continuing campaign to create an appropriate tribute to one of Glasgow’s greatest heroes.

"Following the unveiling of the five statue maquettes, we are busy circulating them, ensuring as many people as possible get the chance to have their say. They’ll be on show at the concert.

“We have been fundraising for just over a year now and are more than halfway to our target of £110,000. So we’ve asked Fairpley to put together this concert. It will be simultaneously a major method of raising the funds to fill the gap, a huge public display of support for this project and, of course, a great night out!”

The Glasgow rent strikes took place at the height of World War One, with 20,000 people taking to the streets in protest against profiteering landlords.

The mobilisation of Barbour's Army saw thousands of women march alongside shipyard and engineering workers to protest at the prosecution in Glasgow's small debt court of 18 tenants for non-payment of a rent increase.

The campaign attracted ministerial intervention, the cases were dismissed and the Rent Restriction Act was enacted, heralding a change in Glasgow's housing system.

Post-war, Ms Barbour maintained her vision and determination to deliver better policies for women and children across the city.

Tickets for the gala concert, priced £25, are available from Glasgow Concert Halls box office. 0141 353 8000

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