Tributes were pouring in this morning as news began to spread that Lower Broughton's Madge Kelly had passed away.
It was only on Monday that Madge was smiling and giving out presents to homeless people as part of the Community Festive Dinner at Cross Street Chapel. This was just the latest scenario in a lifetime of helping the community, be it running kids' parties on the Spike Island estate, or fighting the Bedroom Tax, fighting to Save Broughton Rec and fighting for a zillion other causes.
As part of the formidable all-female RITA tenants association, Madge helped to defeat Salford City Council and developers Countryside Properties, who wanted to demolish four hundred houses on Spike Island. Madge, in her own gentle way, was not to be messed with – and won the respect of the community and politicians alike.
Local Broughton councillor, Jim King, today paid tribute to Madge... "She was an outstanding leader for the local community, and her voice and opinions carried significant weight" he said "Madge will be much missed in her community and by her family. I was very sad to hear of her passing and send my commiserations to her husband Ivor and her family."
Madge was a proud miner's wife and was involved in the Irwell Valley Mining Project, which seeks to commemorate the old collieries of Salford, and never missed an event, while also helping out with heritage projects like Retracing Salford.
In 2011, Madge was given a Salix Star Inclusion Award as "a passionate individual, who is dedicated to improving the neighbourhood"…but, while volunteering in the community, she also believed in taking on authority...
"When I first started going to council meetings I met Madge, and the fight she put up inspired me massively to get involved" says community activist Graham Cooper "If she could do it, I could do it! She will be hugely missed by the community and her family. I'm absolutely shell-shocked."
Madge was also one of the leading inspirations in the founding of the Salford Star and she was always there with an open door, even in the aftermath of the Boxing Day flood which devastated her home. There were so many photos of Madge in the Star that we called her the poster girl of the floods.
We could go on and on about her contribution to the community – but all people need to know is that, today, Salford lost some of its soul. They really, really, really don't make 'em like Madge any more. She will be sadly, sadly missed.
The Salford Star sends commiserations and love to Ivor, Debbie and Paul