Not many people have big enough hearts to take drug addicts into their own home and make them better, but one special Bearsden lady does.
Maxie Richards, a primary school teacher from Westerton, started taking recovering drug addicts into her modest home 25 years ago, simply because she wanted to help them get better and because they had nowhere else to go.
Maxie, who celebrates her 80th birthday with a party in Bearsden’s All Saints Church this Sunday (December 5), has selflessly devoted many years of her life to help these men - and sometimes women - with drug and alcohol addiction to get their lives back on track.
She has campaigned tirelessly against the use of methadone for treating heroin addiction and piloted neuro-electric therapy.
Her work has earned her numerous awards, including Scotswoman of the Year and the prestigious Churchill Fellowship, as well as the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Centre for Social Justice.
But this isn’t what motivates Maxie. The reward for her is seeing these people’s self-esteem restored when they had thought their life was worthless.
Maxie explained: “The key to helping people recover is to make them feel valued. There isn’t a magic spell, you just have to make people feel like they are wanted and have a life worth living.”
Maxie set up The Maxie Richards Foundation, which offers ‘Hope in a Careless World’, in 1994 - so it celebrates its 21st birthday this year.
And in 2002 she opened a centre providing supported accommodation offering men recovering from drug or alcohol addiction a home.
The Kings Court residential facility, in Tighnabruaich, also gives them the chance to learn new skills.
Maxie is patron of the foundation which has a charity shop on Maryhill Road that always needs donations of bric-a-brac and furniture.
They also need volunteers including a ‘man with a van’. Phone 0141 946 0209.