A CHARITY bosses has been described by her fashion designer son as “an inspiration” after her death, aged 72.

Stephanie Holland, the founder of aphasia charity Speakeasy, died at her home in Ramsbottom, surrounded by her family.

Tributes have been paid by her son Henry Holland, who said: “My mum filled every room she entered with joy and passion, an inspiration to anyone who was lucky enough to spend time in her company.

“She guided and shaped people’s lives wherever she went, and Speakeasy is testament to that.

“She was wildly driven and ambitious in everything she did, and Speakeasy is part of her legacy.

“This is something she was immensely proud of and extremely passionate about.

“This fundraising campaign was one of many final demands she left with us to carry out and I really hope we can do her proud.”

Ms Holland founded Speakeasy in 1985 after recognising the need to help those with the condition.

Aphasia is a speech and language impairment cased by damage to the left side of the brain, usually due to a stroke.

Gill Pearl, the charity’s chief executive and a close friend, said: “Stephanie was a flamboyant, charismatic and determined entrepreneur who always thought of what she could do for others.

“During her early career as a speech and language therapist she recognised that the existing support for people affected by aphasia was inadequate.

“In 1985 Stephanie started Speakeasy in Bury, blazing the trail for long term, open-ended support for people with aphasia and their carers.

“It is a proud and well-told story of how she unashamedly begged, stole and borrowed equipment and resources to start up and fund Speakeasy in its earliest days. “Over 36 years later, Stephanie’s legendary vision, passion and energy are still evident. She remained very involved in Speakeasy as a trustee, fundraiser and in delivering direct support. We will miss her.”

Her funeral will reflect the colourful personality of Mrs Holland, according to her family.

Mourners were given strict instructions, before her death, that no-one was to wear black but will have to be dressed in stylish and coloured clothes and drink expensive champagne.

Ms Pearl added: “Her husband David has bought a pink silk suit to wear so we’re all going all out with our outfits, as she would have wanted.”

The funeral will be held at Radcliffe Cemetery at 9.30am followed by a party in Clitheroe.