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Mary Reid was born in 1928 and brought up in poverty during the 1930s in the Gorbals area of Glasgow. Such an upbringing fuelled her desire to change the world and she met her future husband in the Communist movement, which she joined when very young.
Gordon McLennan (see separate entry), whom she married in 1950, was a rising star of the Party and would end up as its General Secretary.
In later life, Mary would relish the freedom of her childhood, playing street games and songs in the street without the constant supervision of adults.
Since Gordon had to move to Party centre, the McLennans lived in Brixton from the 1960s. There, Mary became recognised as a community and political activist.
Her singing voice was highly regarded. One of her sons has written “Her duets of Robert Burns's songs at the annual Hogmanay events and at Burns suppers in Lambeth town hall were legendary. Her sense of herself as a Scot never waned; she never lost her Scottish accent and was known as "Mrs Scot" by the local Rastas on the corner.”
Naturally, like her husband, Mary was supportive of the trend in the CPGB that captured its EC.
Largely self-taught, Mary displayed a keen love of learning until the end of her life. She was open-minded and did not seem to be constrained by social mores.
She died aged 84 in 2012.
Source: Guardian 9th January 2012