Anne McGurk

Anne McGurk (1951-2024)

Updated: 5 April 2024 at 10:21am

We are deeply saddened to share the news that our former Chair Anne McGurk has died at the age of 72.

Anne became the second tenant Chair of Phoenix in 2016, succeeding our original Chair and tenant founder Pat Fordham MBE, and served until 2021. She remained on the Board until March 2022 to continue to offer her support and guidance to our current Chair Carmen Simpson.

A former primary school headteacher, Anne got involved with Phoenix in 2008 after attending a local area panel – an early Phoenix involvement forum – a few months after moving into her Phoenix home. She was asked to chair the panel due to her headteacher experience.

From there, she became involved in the former Phoenix Residents Group, a forerunner to our Phoenix Gateway, and then the Board itself.

During her term as Board Chair, she oversaw the development of Phoenix’s first new homes and our commitment to high quality social housing, as well as the refinancing of the organisation. She was Chair at the outset of the Covid pandemic, taking to send an email to all Phoenix staff each Monday morning during lockdown to share her thoughts from a resident perspective and ensure staff knew how much their efforts were valued by her and her neighbours.

Anne advocated for a stronger resident voice at a national level, both through her regular column in Inside Housing magazine and as a speaker and commentator at numerous conferences and events, including National Housing Federation and Labour Party conferences. She was determined to ensure that tenant voices are heard by audiences and decision-makers who otherwise simply cannot be reached.

“If something hasn’t given me a sense of achievement,  I won’t keep doing it,” Anne said. “But it’s not about the personal for me: I want us to keep our vision, to keep fighting for our model and making sure Phoenix is ready to tackle whatever the challenges of the future may be.”

Anne died on 20 March 2024 after a long illness. Our thoughts and sympathies are with her family, friends and all who knew her.