BOLTON councillor Sufrana Bashir-Ismail has died aged 47 following a battle with cancer.

After she passed away on Friday, the Bolton Labour group said in a statement: "It is with great sadness, our dear friend and colleague Sufrana Bashir-Ismail has passed away. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family."

Cllr Bashir-Ismail, a Labour councillor, had represented the Crompton ward for the last nine years.

Her funeral was held on Saturday afternoon at the Taiyabah Mosque, in Draycott Street, followed by a burial at New Overdale Cemetery.

She made history in 2006 when she became the first Muslim woman to be elected to Bolton Council.

She went on to hold senior roles on the council taking the lead in areas such as the environment, community services and public health.

Cllr Bashir-Ismail was treated for breast cancer in 2011 undergoing a mastectomy and lymph node removal, followed by lengthy chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

A year later, she launched her own charity Chemokits, an initiative to provide those going through the gruelling therapy with a small bag of essential items to help them during the treatment.

Fellow Crompton ward councillor Hanif Darvesh said: "Sufrana was a remarkable individual. She was a passionnate and dedicated public servant, who put the interests of the people of Crompton first and took pride in fulfilling her civic duties.

"She was a strong and determined individual, for whom every issue turned into a meticulous campaign. She was able to bring together people of all religions and from all walks of life, and for that she gained a lot of friends.

"She was also an inspiration to a lot of young people and became their mentor. She will be sadly missed by the many people whose lives she touched."

Cllr Nick Peel said: "The number of councillors and council officers who were at her funeral on Saturday, as well as people from the community, was a testament to Sufrana and all the work she did in Crompton ward and the wider Bolton area.

"In being the town's first female Muslim councillor she broke down boundaries and continued challenging prejudices that exist in all areas of society. She dedicated her life to that, and everybody who knew her understood how committed she was to helping all of her constituents and improving their lives."

Cllr Martin Donaghy added: "This is a very sad day for us and for everybody who knew Sufrana. She demonstrated all of the qualities I would expect of an elected representative and did her absolute best for all the citizens of the town.

"On a more personal note, I always noticed that if there was anyone in the Town Hall who had a birthday or special occasion, she would always take time out for them and bring them little gifts. She didn't have to do that, but the fact that she took the time really endeared her so much to all of her colleagues, and indeed all who knew her.

"I think Bolton will miss her dearly as a councillor and a human being, who cared deeply about all the citizens of this town."

Tributes to the well-resepected councillor have also been paid on Twitter.


Conservative councillor Andy Morgan added his tribute, saying: "So sorry to hear of the sad news that Sufrana passed. Despite us being of different political leanings we always got on and were supportive of each other's aspirations to support our wards and the Bolton community. 

"We had many exchanges on social media and I truly regarded her as a dear friend. My thoughts and prayers are with her family at this sad time."

Cllr Sean Hornby, UKIP group leader on Bolton Council, said: "On behalf of the UKIP Group on the Council I would like to pass on our deepest sympathy to Sufrana’s family. She was a great inspiration to all who knew her.

"She was elected onto Bolton Council in May 2006 the same time as myself and was very proud to be the first Muslim woman to be elected onto the Council.

"I worked with her in the past on several committee’s and was very impressed with her commitment and passion she had for the job.

"I admired her courage during her battle against cancer she could have thrown the towel in but instead decided to start up her charity.

"She was a great woman, a conviction politician who fought for what she believed in. I will always remember her as a first class councillor and a person I am glad to have known as a friend."