Helen Crummy

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Helen Crummy MBE (10 May 1920 – 11 July 2011)[1][2] was a founder of The Craigmillar Festival Society, and served as the Organising Secretary for the group until 1985.


Helen Crummy was born in Leith, Helen Murray Prentice. She became one of Craigmillar's first residents in 1931 when her family moved to the estate, located in one of the poorest areas of Edinburgh.[2] Her family were also neighbours of the family of Jack Kane, the first Labour Lord Provost of Edinburgh.

Craigmillar Festival Society[edit]

The Craigmillar Festival Society started in 1962, after she asked the headmaster of the local primary school if her son could be taught to play the violin.[3] He replied by telling her that it took the school all its time to teach these children "all three R's".[3] Helen with the local mothers group decided to show how talented their children were and started The Craigmillar Festival which grew to gain international acclaim.[3][4]

Statue in memory of Helen Crummy at Niddrie Mains Road, Edinburgh


She was awarded an MBE in 1972,[3] and an honorary doctorate by Heriot-Watt University in 1993,[2] and is part of The Edinburgh Women of Achievement trail. She is also in The "Travelling the distance" sculpture at The Scottish Parliament and mentioned in The Bill Douglas statue at Newcraighall Railway station. On 21 March 2014 a statue, created by Tim Chalk, in her memory was unveiled by Richard Demarco and Ruth Wishart outside the East Neighbourhood Centre on Niddrie Mains Road, Edinburgh.


Her book, Let The People Sing!, has been sold in many countries. Tells the story of The Craigmillar Festival Society. Her third book is the novel, Whom Dykes Divide, was published in 2008.[2] Other publications are "Mine a Rich Vein" 2003; essay and editing: Arts The Catalyst Catalogue, 2004; The Heritage and Arts Trail for Craigmillar, 2009; Edited with Douglas Galbraith: Craigmillar Gold, Community Musical songs, 2004. She was involved in most of the publications that came out of The Craigmillar Festival Society from 1962 - 1985, including "The Comprehensive Plan for Action" (CPA) 1976, which is recognised as a milestone in Community Planning.


  1. ^ Black, David J (18 July 2011). "Obituary: Dr Helen Crummy MBE, social activist". The Scotsman. Retrieved 1 May 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Author pens third novel at age of 88". The Scotsman. 8 December 2008. Retrieved 1 May 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c d Donald Campbell (2003). Edinburgh: A Cultural and Literary History. p. 216. ISBN 978-1-902669-73-1. 
  4. ^ Hannan, Martin (2010) "Martin Hannan: Sink estate that can turn the tide", The Scotsman, 23 March 2010, retrieved 2010-12-02