TRIBUTES have been paid to veteran councillor and former Mayor Florence Oldfield, who died earlier this week.

The 78-year-old was born in the Griffin area of Blackburn before moving to Mill Hill where she lived all her life.

The mother-of-one served as a councillor for more than 20 years and was Mayor of Blackburn with Darwen in 1998/1999.

Mrs Oldield, who had been ill for some time, was found unwell at home last weekend and died in the early hours of Wednesday morning in hospital.

She took up politics after her Labour councillor husband Chris died, aged 55, in 1989, representing Ewood ward with a short break between 2008 and 2010, until she retired at last month’s local elections.

Mrs Oldfield worked at Witton Mill then at the Royal Ordnance Factory in Blackburn and leaves a daughter Jeanette and son-in-law Steve. Council leader Kate Hollern said: “I am greatly saddened by this news. Florence was hardworking and conscientious when she served this borough a councillor.

“She was always passionate and committed, always putting the interests of her constituents first.

“This was reflected in the warm tributes that were paid to her at the last council forum before she stood down from being a councillor. She will be greatly missed. ”

Tory opposition leader Mike Lee said: “She was a real servant of the borough who was able to put aside her politics for the benefit of its residents. She will be greatly missed and I sorry she did not have more time to enjoy her retirement.”

Fellow Ewood councillor Maureen Bateson said: “She was a warm and lovely woman and a fine colleague.

“The words used about Florence by local people and those who knew her include ‘wonderful lovely lady’, a ‘great person’, kind and ‘thoughtful, hardworking, dedicated good public servant’. She will be sadly missed.”

Her daughter Jeanette, who lived nearby in Mill Hill, said: “All the nice kind things people have said about my mum sum her up entirely. She was always there for me.”

The former magistrate had two cats and often looked after local strays. She also liked pottering about in her garden.

On her retirement, Mrs Oldfield said: “I enjoyed every minute of being a councillor. It was a great privilege.”