A memorial bench has been installed for a local community hero who died last year from motor neurone disease.

Sheila McVan, who passed away in December 2020 aged 70 following a battle with motor neurone disease, was a key figure in the Baxenden and wider communities, giving hours of her time to local projects.

The memorial bench has been set up in the Jubilee Woodland in Baxenden, close to Hollins Wood, thanks to Accrington-based training provider North Lancs Training Group, who teamed up with Baxenden Forum and PROSPECTS, two groups she worked with as a volunteer.

Lancashire Telegraph: Shelia McVan died in 2021, aged 70. She was a well loved community volunteerShelia McVan died in 2021, aged 70. She was a well loved community volunteer

During her volunteering, Shelia was secretary of Baxenden Community Forum, a walk leader for the Hyndburn Stepping Out project, as well as being an extremely active member of PROSPECTS, Hyndburn Green Spaces Forum, Lancashire Wildlife Trust, National Vegetable Society and the Baxenden Allotments and Garden Society, where she was a committee member.

Sheila, who was born in Huncoat, was also heavily involved in other local projects including being the main fundraiser for the rose garden in Haworth Park and ensuring local footpaths were passible, in particular the Hollins Wood footpaths.

Lancashire Telegraph: The beautiful memorial bench for Shelia McVanThe beautiful memorial bench for Shelia McVan

All that tireless voluntary work in the community came following a 30-year career in the Lancashire Constabulary, which she started in Morecambe before moving to Accrington after marrying her husband Frank.

Sheila was posted to Great Harwood as an officer general, before community policing as a volunteer in the Baxenden area, which is where her love for community projects began.

Lancashire Telegraph: The plaque on the memorial bench for Shelia McVanThe plaque on the memorial bench for Shelia McVan

Frank said: "She absolutely loved it. Once she retired from the police and got involved with all the different projects, she loved every minute of it.

"She took on these projects and she was really keen to do them.

"I chose the location because of the open aspect in front of it and the views around it. Sheila also did a lot of fundraising for Jubilee Wood where it is based, including all the grant applications and raising the funds to do the footpaths and plant the trees.

"It means a lot to me, it's in her memory and celebrates everything she was involved in."