Legacy of Sheila McKechnie lives on in Falkirk archives

Elspeth Reid (left), Falkirk Community Trust archivist  receives the Sheila McKechnie Collection from Linda Butcher, CEO Sheila McKechnie Foundation
Elspeth Reid (left), Falkirk Community Trust archivist receives the Sheila McKechnie Collection from Linda Butcher, CEO Sheila McKechnie Foundation
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One of Falkirk’s most famous daughters was remembered last week with the launch of a new heritage and learning project.

Campaigner Sheila McKechnie grew up in Camelon, attending Falkirk High School and Edinburgh University.

But it was her work as chief executive at Shelter and The Consumers’ Association which put her in the public spotlight.

Sadly, she died in 2004 aged only 55.

The following year the Sheila McKechnie Foundation (SMK) was set up in her memory to support future generations of campaigners.

A grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund allowed the heritage project, Sheila McKechnie: The Mark of a Great Campaigner to be set up.

The previous week, archives detailing Sheila’s life and career were officially handed over to Falkirk Community Trust to be stored in the district’s archives at Callendar House.

A touring exhibition, currently on display in Falkirk Town Hall was also unveiled, while an online archive and resource was also launched.

The website – http://archive.smk.org.uk/ – looks in detail at her life and includes an educational resource, drawing on her legacy to help inspire the campaigners of tomorrow.

Speaking at the launch, SMK’s chief executive Linda Butcher said: “The archive’s two main objectives are to secure Sheila’s legacy; and to inspire others to seek to emulate what she achieved as an effective campaigner, on behalf of women, homeless individuals, consumers and many others.

“What Sheila achieved deserves to be widely known; it’s also just as relevant today as when she was alive, which is why the archive is so important in helping to inspire a new generation of campaigners.”

Maureen Campbell, Falkirk Community Trust chief executive, said: “It is an inspirational collection that will be highly valued and appreciated by many.”