Last week ,quietly without fuss, mourned by a modest congregation, Bolton laid to rest one of her unsung and most modest citizens,

Hilda Peace Unsworth JP aged 97 — she was called Peace having been born on "Armistice Day" November 11,1918.

On the same day in 1939 I started to share the same birthday and subsequently I shared her commitment to our town, its people and its politics.

Her passing in years gone by would have been mourned by the thousands of Bolton textile workers that she gave her working life for as she progressed from a young girl working "in't mill", to a much valued and highly respected Trade Union leader of the Bolton Weavers & Winders Association.

She inherited the mantle of the women who had gone before her in the fight for "women's fair and equal rights"; those who had not been treated fairly after the First World War and she was at the forefront of the struggle to defend working women and their families from the poverty and despair that faced thousands during the inter-war years.

This was a time before the Welfare State, before the National Health Service, a time when neighbours and communities had to "stick together" to survive.

Hilda lead from the front and nobody, either male employer or male trade unionist, ever took her for granted; always a lady but without doubt a real fighter for her members if she thought them being badly done too.

But equally resolute and firm to her own when change had to be accepted to face the challenges of a changing world. She was admired and respected by all who knew her.

Sadly, Hilda lived to see the 120 textile mills in the Bolton of her youth completely disappear and the industry she loved die but to her very last she was always proud of the contribution the industry had made to our town and country's prosperity.

On her trade union delegation visits abroad Hilda took her fight for women's rights with her and had no hesitation in putting the embarrassing questions forward on Equal Pay, Maternity Support ,Women Prisoner Care to governments who had little regard for the role of women in their societies. Hilda took no prisoners and said it as it was.

She was much the same in her role as a local magistrate. She enacted the law fairly and firmly, passed the sentence and then gave the defendant the "motherly advice" she thought was lacking.

A true proud daughter of Bolton, a life of service, an example to all, but especially to the women of Bolton. So I ask the women of Bolton upon reading this small comment of mine, to spare a thought for Hilda Peace Unsworth and say a little thank you for a life well passed in the service of her fellow "sisters".

Hon. Alderman Frank White JP