TRIBUTES have been paid to a former Mayoress of Bolton following her death on Tuesday.

Former councillor Rita Fairhurst died aged 88 following a short illness, with ex-colleagues and friends remembering the work she did for the town.

Rita represented Westhoughton South from 1990 to 1994, before becoming Mayoress to her partner, Hon. Alderman Peter Finch, in 1998/99.

She was a governor at Eatock Primary in Westhoughton and it was at her suggestion the school was named Eatock.

Mayor Cllr Linda Thomas, who had known Rita, said she “worked hard all her life” to support those in the community.

She said: “I came to Westhoughton in 1977 and met her through the Labour Party and she was already a very established member in the women’s section, as it was then.

“She was Westhoughton born and bred and she was just a woman who worked hard in the community, even before she was a councillor.

“She would always be there at functions selling raffle tickets and doing all the behind-the-scenes stuff. Westhoughton has lost a real traditional stalwart in the community. Rita was a family friend of the Mayor and Consort, was much-loved and will be sadly missed.”

Cllr Elaine Sherrington added: "We used to go over to Germany as part of the Labour Party’s twinning and I had a party when they last came over. I took a photo of all of us, including Rita, and now it’s framed in my house.

“The big thing you do as Mayor is raise money for the charities that have been chosen and she used to work with them to get as much funding and money for them as she possibly could.

“She was a very, very lovely lady who had a great sense of humour and she will be sadly missed. “

Her granddaughter, Samantha Fairhurst, said: "She was a lovely person and she wanted to help everyone she possibly could."