TRIBUTES have poured in for former Hyndburn mayor and councillor of 17 years, Pam Barton.

The mother-of-two, who lived in Ormerod Street, Accrington, died in hospital on Tuesday morning following a long fight against cancer.

Her colleagues and friends have since paid tribute to the long-serving Labour councillor, who had represented the Spring Hill ward since 1998 and was the council’s health and communities boss.

She also served as the borough’s mayor in 2008/09.

Current mayor and fellow Spring Hill councillor Munsif Dad said he had last seen Cllr Barton in hospital on Monday, and said she was keen to get back on the streets campaigning ahead of today’s elections.

He said: “I was probably one of the last people to see her. I spent 20 minutes to half an hour with her.

“She looked like she was getting better and I was shocked to hear she had passed away.

“She was a very, very good councillor and a very close friend.

“She was also an excellent ambassador for the community and she will be dearly missed.”

Council leader Miles Parkinson said: “Pam was a friend and colleague for more than 17 years and was a fighter, whether that was her own health or in her cabinet role as member for Health and Wellbeing for all the residents of Hyndburn.

“She fought to stop the closure of Accrington Victoria Walk-in Centre and succeeded, so now we must continue Pam’s fight.

“Pam will be sorely missed by all past and present colleagues in Hyndburn.”

Peel councillor, Joyce Plummer, added, “It is only a week since Vincent and I visited her in hospital and was having a good laugh with her.

“Her first comment was, ‘Fancy this happening a week before the election, I should be out there canvassing.’ “Pam and myself had many chats over the phone and I found her truly inspirational.”

The funeral is to be arranged.