TRIBUTES have been paid to a ‘passionate and committed’ Blackburn care home manager Barbara Magee who collapsed and died at work days before Christmas.

The 52-year-old had started her career as an assistant cook at a residential home in Burnley in 1986 and ended up as the boss at Blakewater Lodge in Swallow Drive.

Barbara, of Micklehurst Crescent, Burnley, was taken ill on the Thursday before Christmas and rushed to the Royal Blackburn Hospital but failed to recover consciousness after suffering a brain haemorrhage.

Blackburn with Darwen council chief executive Harry Catherall praised her passion and commitment to her elderly clients and said she would be ‘much missed’.

She leaves husband Hugh, aged 66, two children, two stepchildren and five grandchildren.

Educated at Towneley High School, Barbara rose from assistant cook through the ranks to manage Blakewater Lodge.

Her sister-in-law Margaret Seel said: “Barbara was a remarkable lady with a great commitment to her elderly clients and a special interest in dementia.

“To rise from assistant cook to the manager was an extraordinary career. Her big interests were family, her work and travel.”

Husband Hugh said: “The whole family are going to miss her enormously. It was a huge shock.

“There are a lot of people who are going to miss Barbara including friends, colleagues and clients.”

Mr Catherall said: “We were shocked and greatly saddened at Barbara’s death and our thoughts and sympathies are with her family at this difficult time.

“Barbara was a long-standing member of staff. She began her career in social care in 1986 and worked in a variety of roles including managerial ones.

“Throughout her career, she was passionate about her work with older people and received a large number of compliments from service users and family carers for her commitment and values.

“Barbara was particularly keen to focus on improving services for people with dementia and their family carers.

“She will be much missed by us all. She will be remembered very fondly by service users, staff and all who knew her.”

She was cremated in her home town of Burnley yesterday.