PEOPLE across Bury are mourning the death of a Ramsbottom woman who worked tirelessly for the community.

Brenda Headley, who dedicated much of her life to improving communities in Bury and helping those in need, died aged 75 on February 16 following a battle with cancer.

Brenda was a council housing tenant for more than 40 years and started being a tenant activist in the late 1980s when asked to help start a Tenants & Residents Association (TRA) on Peel Brow estate.

Due to Brenda’s involvement, the TRA successfully secured funding for a security lighting project for the elderly, and a youth shelter for the young.

Councillor Rishi Shori, cabinet member for housing and deputy leader at Bury Council, said: "Brenda was a one off. Her passion for the rights of tenants to live in good quality housing was unrivalled. It is what she fought for for over 40 years.

"As cabinet member for housing I worked with Brenda for the last five years. She was a critical friend of the council, a straight talker, whose representations helped shape council policy affecting tenants on more than one occasion.

"I was particularly grateful for the work she did in assisting the council devise a fair policy in implementing the bedroom tax. She will be sorely missed and never forgotten."

Brenda was secretary of the Tenants Federation, vice chairman of the Repairs Advisory Group and vice chairman of the Housing Forum.

Brenda married her husband Jack and settled in Ramsbottom where they raised their family. When Jack became ill, Brenda held several jobs in a cotton mill and pubs in Ramsbottom, caring for him for many years before his death.

Brenda’s hobbies included ballroom and tap dancing, for which she had received several medals, and yoga. During her campaigning, Brenda rubbed shoulders with former Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown at events, along with current Shadow Home Secretary Andy Burnham.

Sharon McCambridge, chief executive at Six Town Housing said: “Brenda has always been instrumental in leading the way for us when it came to making sure that the voice of tenants was heard very loud and strong. "She was a community leader and she was always there for our staff too. In my experience people like Brenda don’t come along very often – strong belief and passion for doing what is right and fair but with empathy and compassion. We are all going to miss her at Six Town Housing.”