TRIBUTES have been paid to Farnworth councillor Asha Ali Ismail, who has lost her battle against cancer aged just 34.
Cllr Ismail, who represented the Harper Green ward, died on Monday.
The town hall flag was flown at half mast as a mark of respect.
Cllr Ismail was elected on December 19 in a by-election after the death of Cllr Margaret Clare, who had represented the ward for more than 20 years.
Cliff Morris, leader of Bolton Council, led the tributes to his colleague, who he said was “passionate” about the community she represented.
He added: “I have known Asha since she was a little girl, as she went to Gilnow Primary School when I was chairman of governors there.
“She was getting into ward work, she had wanted to be a councillor for a while. She will be sadly missed. She was a bright young woman and a lovely young woman and our condolences to her family.
“She was born in Bolton and was passionate about Bolton and the people she was representing.”
Cllr Ismail, an agency social worker who lived in Gilnow Gardens, Bolton, was elected councillor for the safe Labour seat after securing 744 votes out of the 1,450 cast.
She became the first African-British councillor on Bolton Council.
Cllr Ismail had previously stood for election in Bradshaw in 2012.
Her election promise was to “work closely” with residents and community groups.
Farnworth councillor Noel Spencer said: “It came as a real shock. I knew she was ill, but just last week we had hopes that she was responding better to the treatment.
“To be taken at such a young age is a real tragedy.”
“She had the potential to be a real star and will be a real loss to the party and the people she was serving.”
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Bolton Council’s deputy chief executive, Margaret Asquith, said: “We were very sad to hear the news about Cllr Ismail.
“On behalf of the council, I would like to convey our condolences to her family and friends at this time.
“The town hall flag has been flown at half-mast as a sign of respect.”
Cllr Sufrana Ismail, who represents Crompton Ward, added: “She was passionate about making a difference and becoming a councillor was one of her biggest achievements in her short life.
“Asha was the first Somali woman to become a councillor in Bolton and, when she was recently diagnosed with cancer, she hoped to use her role to raise awareness of ovarian cancer.
“She was a friend as well as party colleague and I will miss her. Asha was much loved and is survived by her mum, brothers and sisters.”
Cllr Ismail had given up her budding media career to become a carer for her father, who suffered from cancer.
The funeral service took place on Tuesday at the Zakariyya Mosque and was attended by councillors.