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Tributes pour in on election night for Failsworth East’s Labour Councillor, Barbara Dawson, who died earlier this month

By Claire Holden & Gareth Westmorland

Tributes pour in on election night for an Oldham councillor who died just over a week ago.

Barbara Dawson, Labour Councillor for Failsworth East passed away on 23 April, leaving one seat at tonight’s election vacant.

Cllr Dawson was elected to her seat eight years ago and in that time played an active and dutiful role.

Her fellow Labour candidate for Failsworth East, Jim McMahon, is also the current leader of Oldham Council.

He said: “To those who knew Barbara the loss will leave a gap which will hurt for some time to come.”

Cllr Dawson was the first-ever Chair of the Co-operative Commission, which was established in summer 2011.

The Co-operative Commission played an integral role in guiding the Local Authority’s move towards becoming a Co-operative Council

She was a member of the Failsworth and Hollinwood District Partnership. She also contributed passionately to the work of outside bodies, including Voluntary Action Oldham, and was Chair of Governors at Failsworth School.

Cllr McMahon, said: “She was a hardworking, strong and inspiring woman whose only failing was at times to underestimate how good she was.

Councillor Richard Knowles, the Mayor of Oldham, said: “Councillor Dawson was a real community champion and a hard-working member of the Council who will be missed by all colleagues.”

A Book of Condolence has been set up on the Oldham Council website for people to pay their respects. There are already 112 messages on the web page.

Heartfelt messages were left, including one from Dilys Fletcher, who said: “My dearest friend, my rock of support in difficult times past and present. I will miss you so much. Ain’t no sunshine now your gone. Loved you xxx”

Steven Bashforth posted: “Will miss your cheerful smile and eagerness to help.

“I’m really glad to have known you Barbara and will not forget you and its only now that I realise how ill you were because you never let your illness get in the way of your life and never complained about it”

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