TRIBUTES have been paid to a popular member of Blackburn with Darwen Council’s public health team who died just before Christmas.

Ruth Young joined the council in April 2013 as public health research and development manager.

Her role involved the design, implementation, evaluation and dissemination of ‘real world’ public health research, both through her own work and advice and support to colleagues and partners in Blackburn with Darwen, Pennine Lancashire, the North West and beyond.

Ruth had a short fight with cancer and died surrounded by family and friends at Trinity Hospice in Blackpool, in the early hours of Saturday morning, December 22.

She is survived by her eight year old son Daniel and her mother.

Graduating from Manchester University and then the University of Liverpool, where she was awarded a PhD in Geography, Ruth had a distinguished career working in Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and London and published several academic papers.

Ruth’s key successes in Blackburn with Darwen included developing and supporting the delivery of a number of PhD Research projects on key local health issues, including dementia in the South Asian community and prevention of obesity in pre-school children.

Outside of work she enjoyed spending quality time with Daniel including going out for day trips, visiting friends, going to the beach and taking photographs.

Dominic Harrison, director of public health, said: "Ruth worked with distinction with us for almost seven years during which time she proved a popular and highly skilled member of the team.

"This is a terrible shock and we are all grieving the loss.

"We will remember Ruth as a fantastic person and committed public servant with a passion for social sciences. She was a friend and colleague to many here and will be dearly missed."