TRIBUTES have been paid to a community stalwart who raised thousands of pounds for numerous charities and organisations.
Lilian Hodgkinson, of Oakamoor, passed away aged 96 on Friday, July 11, at the University hospital of North Staffordshire following a short illness.
Among the many organisations and charities Mrs Hodgkinson supported are the Red Cross, Churnet Valley Conservation Society (CVCS), the Conservative Party, Holy Trinity Church in Oakamoor, the Campaign to Protect Rural England, Macmillan and the Oakamoor Olympic Games.
Mrs Hodgkinson was awarded a Red Cross Commendation for Meritorious Service in 1991, and a National Trustee Commendation in 2000.
Liz Whitehead, Red Cross volunteer support manager in Staffordshire, said: "We are incredibly sad to hear that Lilian has passed away and our thoughts are with her family at this difficult time.
"Lilian was an active fund-raising volunteer, having given her time and commitment for over 33 years.
"For many years she led our team of fund-raisers in Cheadle who collectively raised thousands to support our work locally and around the world.
"She had a wonderful way of persuading people to get involved and worked tirelessly to promote the work of the Red Cross in her community.
"She will be greatly missed by volunteers and staff alike."
Karen Seaton, chairman of CVCS, paid tribute to Mrs Hodgkinson, who was instrumental in setting up the original Lower Churnet Valley Conservation Group in the early 80s, which ran for about 15 years and played a part in the success of the current CVCS. She said: "Many will know her as an intrepid organiser of all of us residents in the valley.
"She cajoled people tirelessly to involve themselves in various events, many of which she instigated to support or fund-raise for the church, the Red Cross, the Campaign to Protect Rural England, conservation in our valley, Macmillan and many other organisations.
"She was an ex-Conservative Party agent and never lost her skill to scoop up support wherever she could for whatever she felt was a worthy cause, including for her party meetings and lunches.
"She was a member of many other organisations, with a diary that would exhaust many just to look at.
"Not many people in their 90s would conceive of an idea to run an Oakamoor Olympics, altered to The Oakamoor Games on the orders of the Olympic committee, as well as drumming up attendance for a dog show in the same year, events which continue along with others.
"Added to this were her latest church fund-raisers – only three weeks ago a talent show for local young musicians, and a concert fund-raiser in the church, which found her making numerous phone calls only a week ago calling all and sundry to bring out their instruments and talents to join in performing.
"She will be missed in so many ways."
Catherine Dole, co-organiser of the Oakamoor Junior Talent Show, took over the reins for the event from Mrs Hodgkinson when she became unwell.
She said: "Lilian came up with the idea for the talent show and wanted it to carry on every year.
"At one stage she described it as her swan song so I'm very happy that it was so successful, and it was all down to her.
"She will be remembered for her tremendous energy, ideas and commitment to the many causes she worked so hard for.
"The village will not be the same without her."
Mike Worthington, Staffordshire county councillor for the Churnet Valley, said he had always had Mrs Hodgkinson's support and was a member of her branch for several years when he lived in Kingsley.
He added: "She was typical old school who wanted the Conservatives to concentrate on what was important; revitalising the country.
"Lilian was passionate about protecting the Churnet Valley from over development and I hope to take her wishes forward for the benefit of the people who live in this beautiful part of Staffordshire.
"She will be sadly missed by all who had the privilege of knowing her."