Pat Jones-Greenhalgh started her working life as a hairdresser.

Now she is stepping down as Bury Council's chief executive and says she is "privileged" to have served in the public sector for over four decades.

Mrs Jones-Greenhalgh took over the role towards the end of last year after working her way up the council's ranks, making history as the first woman to occupy the position.

She will be succeeded by Geoff Little OBE the former deputy chief executive of Manchester City Council.

She said: "It's been a privilege to work in public services for 45 years — 41 of those in Bury.

"I hope I have brought out the best in Bury, as I strive to bring out the best in al those around me.

"I'm not ready to stop thought, and I can't wait to see what opportunities and challenges lie ahead."

Born weighing only four pounds and raised with her four siblings, Mrs Jones-Greenhalgh lived a humble but happy childhood in a two-up-two-down in Bury with her loving, council-employed, parents.

She said: "My loving parents taught me that if I worked hard and believed in myself I could do anything."

Starting her career in hairdressing, Mrs Jones-Greenhalgh utilised her creative flair and people skills, as well as developing a talent for in listening and empathy for others — eventually leading her to the social care sector.

Beginning as a care assistant she progressed to become qualified social worker, before advancing to many senior leadership positions in the council.

Mrs Jones-Greenhalgh has also achieved two master's degrees and held the challenging and rewarding posts of Dementia lead for the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services and Resilience lead for Greater Manchester.

She said: "I'm living proof that anyone can make it. I've been driven by my strong values, including a belief in people, challenging stigma and discrimination, helping those in need, empowering people to reach their full potential, and delivering the highest of standards.

"I've also been lucky to have fantastic mentors over the years."

Serving as Bury's first female chief executive Mrs Jones-Greenhalgh made history at the council's top table alongside a female mayor and deputy mayor.

She was praised by Bury Council Leader, Councillor Rishi Shori, as "‘A driven reformer, an inspirational leader, and an astute people-person, with true moral courage, who believes in empowering those around her".

Mrs Jones-Greenhalgh also says she is positive about the future of her home town, believing that Greater Manchester devolution is an opportunity for growth in all areas of life Bury, from health and social care, to employment, housing and business.

However she added that she feels there needs to be more national investment in public services and advocates a person-centred and place-based approach to health and social care — being encouraged by how far Bury has come in this regard.

She said: "I am confident that we are a stronger player on the Greater Manchester stage.

"Bury people are proud of where they live and are keen to take control and make a difference in their own areas. We need to put them at the heart of everything that we do."

Despite stepping down from the chief executive role Mrs Jones-Greenhalgh, a keen lover of sports, is still keeping herself active swimming and doing yoga.

She is also kept on her toes and out on the streets power walking by her new Border Collie puppy Tab.

And after dedicating decades of her life to serving others she will now be enjoying a well earned rest over a summer holiday, before returning ready to bring her infectious energy to future challenges.

Bury through and through she said: "Cut me in half, you will find Bury written through me like a stick of rock

"I was born here, educated her, married here, and no doubt I'll die here as well — although not any time soon."