A LOCAL athletics club has described a memorial to former Olympic athlete Nellie Halstead as "a fitting tribute".

A plaque in honour of Nellie has been placed on a large stone monument at the East Lancashire Crematorium, in Cemetery Road, Radcliffe.

The book-shaped statue also includes a plaque in memory of three-times world snooker champion John Spencer, who was born and bred in Radcliffe.

A member of both Bury and Radcliffe Athletics Clubs, Nellie's sporting career took off in 1930 when she broke the world record for the 220 yards sprint at the English Championship. Two years later, she broke the world record for the 440 yards race with 56.08 seconds, which stood unbeaten for more than 22 years.

Later that year she won her Olympic medal in the British 4x100 yard relay team and was described as "Britain's greatest woman athlete".

Nellie, of Holborn Avenue, Radcliffe, was well-known in the town and worked for many years on a cheese stall in the market. The 81-year-old died at Bury General Hospital in 1991 after a stroke.

The plaque becomes the second permanent reminder in the town, along with the Nellie Halstead running track in Cams Lane.

Radcliffe AC chairman Tom West said: "The brief details on the plaque show the highlights of Nellie's wonderful career in athletics. She's a shining example to every youngster in the town of what can be achieved if you go for it."

Club president Terry Nortley said: "The memorial stone has John Spencer's name in the top left hand corner and his achievements as a world class snooker player. Nellie is in the top right hand corner of the page' and I think there's a nice balance between these high achievers from Radcliffe."