A WOMAN who championed the cause of elderly people in Bury for more than three decades has died.

Beryl Pilkington had headed up the Age Concern charity in the town with just two members of staff back in 1983 and when she left that staff figure had risen to 35.

During her time with the charity, she spearheaded an expansion in the range of services, which included insurance, day-care, the safely home scheme (which supported older people leaving hospital), information and advice and, by utilising funds from the Manpower Services Scheme, painting and decorating.

Andrew Hazeldine, the current chief officer at Age UK Bury says Beryl’s greatest achievement came with the opening of the Jubilee Centre, beside the Clarence Park Lido.

He said: “When the water in the lido had become too unsafe to swim in and the changing rooms had fallen into ruins, Beryl persuaded Bury Council to grant the charity permission to take the old buildings down and build on the land.

“To pay for the new building, Beryl and her committee had to raise every penny from income generated in the charity shops and from grants from charitable trusts.”

In September 1996, The Jubilee Centre was opened as an indoor and outdoor pursuits centre used for people aged 50 and over with the aim of providing a range of activities such as yoga, Tai Chi, dancing and art.

Andrew explains: “To this day, the centre remains a unique facility for older people in Bury and there is no other centre like it in the North West.

The centre currently offers 30 activities and is visited by over 600 older people every week.”

In 2005, Beryl retired from her position as chief officer after 22 years although she remained a regular member and took up a weekly art class with her husband Tom.

In 2008, Beryl was invited to become a member of the trustee board and served as chairman of the trustee board from 2011 to 2018.

Andrew added: “Beryl was an outstanding champion for older people in Bury.

"The Jubilee Centre is her legacy that continues to make a massive difference to the lives of local older people.”