Richard Crossley writes
I first met Terry several years ago in his role as chair of the National Federation of Tenant Management Organisations (NFTMO). I was struck not only by his by his knowledge of tenant management, his passion for tenant control and his eloquence, but also by the warmth of his personality and his sense of humour.
It was in the late 1980s when Terry, a life-long social housing tenant, attended a residents’ association meeting to complain about the poor heating in his tower block. His concern about the decline of the neighbourhood and the poor housing conditions he and his neighbours had to endure, led him to get more involved in taking action to get things done.
He helped found the Burrowes Street Tenant Management Organisation and was elected
its first chairperson. Through hard work and organisation the tenants of that estate, led by Terry, turned it round to be a well-run well-managed estate with a range of community activities. Terry went on to become chair of WATMOS Community Homes – the innovative tenant-led housing association that took ownership of the properties managed by 8 TMOs including Burrowes Street.
And not content with that, Terry also became chair of the NFTMO. Under his stewardship
the NFTMO has grown into a respected representative body serving its TMO members well and giving a strong national profile to tenant management.
Terry never tired of wanting to help tenants throughout the country tackle the difficulties in their neighbourhoods. Along with other national tenants’ organisations Terry helped the last government set up the National Tenant Voice, on whose Council Terry served before its abolition by the Coalition Government.
Yet despite his high profile on the national stage, Terry always remained true to his roots in Burrowes Street where he continued to be active even, in recent weeks, from his hospital bed. I shared many a conference platform with Terry, and never tired of hearing him talk about the inspiring tenant-led transformation of that estate, and the community spirit that continues to grow there.
His wife Joan, his family and his friends have suffered a great loss. And the tenant movement has lost a great leader who inspired others with his knowledge, commitment, eloquence, good nature, common sense and, above all, genuine humanity.
Steve Hilditch adds: I only knew Terry for the couple of years we worked together to set up the National Tenant Voice. But he was the inspiration for my belief that it was possible to set up a national organisation that could talk to Government whilst remaining firmly rooted in communities. He never gave up the local job to do the national job. So what he said always carried conviction and was rooted in the daily experiences of tenants on the ground. He was always courteous, invariably insightful, and often very funny. He was the model community activist, showing the world the potential that ordinary people have to achieve great things when given the opportunity. He will be missed by all who knew him.
The funeral service will be held on Thursday 17th November 10am at St Patrick’s Church, Blue Lane East, Walsall, WS2 8HN.
Other tributes to Terry can be found as follows: